Nevan Baker is the younger Black man who was pronounced useless after he was discovered hanging from a tree in a park in Orlando, Florida. In response to the obituary, Baker died on October 5. He was simply 22 years previous.
The Orlando Police Division, in conjunction with the health worker, dominated Baker’s demise a suicide. However Baker’s household has argued that sure particulars don’t add up and they’re calling for the division to reopen the investigation.
One of many particulars that has been mentioned on social media is whether or not Baker’s fingers have been tied behind his again. The Orlando PD case report didn’t point out Baker’s fingers in any respect. In an emailed exchanged with the media relations division, Heavy particularly requested whether or not Baker’s fingers have been tied behind his again when responding officers discovered him. We obtained this response: “As our assertion reported, there was NO proof of foul play.”
Right here’s what it’s essential know:
1. A Witness Instructed the Police His Canine Alerted Him to Baker’s Physique
Nevan Baker’s physique was first noticed round three:30 a.m. on October 5 at Orlando’s Barker Park, in accordance with the case report obtained by Heavy. A witness advised police he was out strolling his canine when the animal broke unfastened. As he chased the canine, he realized the animal was barking at one thing inside the park.
The witness caught as much as his pet and realized the canine had been barking at a physique that was hanging from a rope. In response to the report, the witness initially thought the physique was some form of prop; he didn’t suppose it was actual. The physique was hanging “simply outdoors of the parking zone” in the southwest nook of the park.
The witness returned with the canine to a close-by residence, the place his ex-girlfriend was staying. He advised her to seize a flashlight and a telephone. She returned to the scene with him and “noticed the physique hanging.” The 2 witnesses alerted the police and waited for officers to reach in order to direct them to the physique.
In response to the case report, the responding officers rapidly eliminated Baker from the tree and positioned him “on the bottom to render help.” The officers reported that they didn’t really feel a pulse. Baker was sporting shorts and footwear however didn’t have a shirt on.
Baker was pronounced useless by first responders from the Orlando Hearth Division at three:56 a.m., the case report states.
The case report additionally states that the responding officers interviewed one other potential witness who had been sleeping in the park’s picnic space. The person advised officers he had been sleeping for about two hours and had not seen or heard anybody else in the park and was “uncertain why police have been in the realm.” You may see the case report right here. Heavy has blocked out the witness names.
2. The Orlando PD Says There Was ‘No Proof of Foul Play or Any Sort of Bodily Battle’
The Orange County Medical Examiner’s Workplace dominated Baker’s demise as suicide by hanging. Dr. Marie Hansen carried out the post-mortem. The health worker’s case synopsis, provided to Heavy by the Orlando PD, doesn’t embody specifics as to how the health worker reached that conclusion
The full post-mortem has not been launched to the general public. Heavy emailed the Medical Examiner’s Workplace in Orange County to ask whether or not the report might be made public and requested a replica.
On October 9, the Orlando PD issued a press release about Baker’s demise with out figuring out him by title:
We’ve got seen social media posts concerning a person who was discovered deceased in Barker Park. This can be a tragic case of suicide, and it’s tough for investigators to debate particulars publicly, out of respect to the sufferer’s privateness, and that of his household.
Officers have exhausted all leads and, presently, there isn’t any proof of foul play or any form of bodily wrestle. The health worker additionally investigated and dominated the reason for demise as suicide. Our detectives proceed to assist the sufferer’s household the place they’ll. We’re preserving the sufferer, his household, and associates in our ideas throughout this tough time.
In an e mail to the Orlando Police Division public info division, Heavy requested for extra specifics about how the division had reached its conclusion that Baker’s demise had been a suicide. We additionally requested whether or not the division had a response to the household’s insistence that Baker wouldn’t have killed himself. These questions haven’t but been instantly answered.
three. Baker’s Mom Says His Face Had Noticeable Accidents & a Cousin Claimed on Twitter That Baker Had Been Overwhelmed ‘Past Recognition’
On October fifth my Cousin Nevan Baker was discovered beating past recognition and hung to demise at George Barker Park in Orlando the Police Division dominated as a suicide with out doing any investigation. No Information Group coated it. #justiceforNevanBaker half 1 pic.twitter.com/WzmjlSdQSi
— Ladiilibra (@EarlyFelisha) October 8, 2020
Baker’s mom, Sharhonda James, advised the Orlando Sentinel that she seen accidents on her son’s face when she seen his physique on the morgue. James defined to reporter Grace Toohey that Baker’s jaw was misplaced, his nostril was swollen and there have been “bumps on his brow.” James added that she has requested the Orlando Police to point out her footage from the park however that her request had not but been granted.
Neither the case report nor the health worker’s case synopsis point out noticeable accidents to Baker’s face.
James advised the newspaper she doesn’t imagine her son would have dedicated suicide. “I’m not performed with this example; it’s simply starting,” James stated. “My son didn’t grasp himself. I do know my youngster.”
A girl who recognized herself as Baker’s cousin additionally mentioned Baker’s alleged accidents on social media. She wrote on Twitter that Baker had been crushed “past recognition.” She additionally accused the police division of closing the case “with out doing any investigation.” She described Baker in a follow-up tweet on October 11: “My 22 yr previous Cousin Nevan Baker along with his life forward of him was planning on going to the navy who modified his life round was into God who had a very good coronary heart was discovered crushed and hung from a tree. OPD dominated it as a suicide.”
The hashtag “Justice for Nevan” has been a gathering place for individuals to debate the case on Twitter. The concept Baker might have had his fingers restrained behind his again picked up steam on the thread. Twitter person @MandaMillions wrote on October eight: “22yo Nevan Baker was discovered hanging from a tree Tuesday night time in Barkers Park in ORLANDO. @OrlandoPolice instantly dominated it as suicide regardless of his fingers being tied behind his again, bruises on his face & lacking enamel. We’d like f****** solutions.”
22yo Nevan Baker was discovered hanging from a tree Tuesday night time in Barkers Park in ORLANDO. @OrlandoPolice instantly dominated it as suicide regardless of his fingers being tied behind his again, bruises on his face & lacking enamel.
We’d like fucking solutions. pic.twitter.com/nqPMoqfhgk
— no pronouns, do not confer with me🇯🇲 (@MandaMillions) October 9, 2020
The Orlando PD has not publicly addressed the allegation that Baker might have been crushed earlier than his demise. The unique case report doesn’t specify whether or not Baker’s fingers had been tied behind his again or if his fingers have been unfastened when officers discovered him.
Nevan Baker was discovered HANGING from a tree in Orlando. @OrlandoPolice rapidly dominated his demise a suicide however now we be taught his fingers have been tied, enamel lacking and face bruised. We demand transparency and a complete investigation so we all know precisely what occurred! #JusticeForNevan pic.twitter.com/B1XYQ1T3m3
— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) October 11, 2020
Ben Crump, the legal professional who represented the household of Breonna Taylor, has additionally weighed in on social media. He wrote on Twitter on October 11, “Nevan Baker was discovered HANGING from a tree in Orlando. @OrlandoPolice rapidly dominated his demise a suicide however now we be taught his fingers have been tied, enamel lacking and face bruised. We demand transparency and a complete investigation so we all know precisely what occurred!”
four. Baker’s Sister Has Known as His Loss of life a Homicide
Baker’s sister, Jamia Douglas, launched a GoFundMe marketing campaign to assist the household cowl funeral prices. As of this writing, the web page had raised greater than $eight,400. Douglas described her brother as a “good child” who had given “his life to Christ.” She stated he had deliberate to grow to be an electrician. She added that Baker’s surprising demise had “left my household with many unanswered questions behind his homicide.”
Douglas defined in an October 10 replace that the household deliberate to make use of any additional funds to push for an additional investigation into Baker’s demise: “We are actually accepting extra money to pay for an additional investigation for Nevan Baker’s homicide. We may also arrange a peaceable protest subsequent week to get Orlando Police Division to disclose the proof resulting in this case. We’d like Solutions. NOW!”
— Luis Ortiz (@ActivistLue) October 11, 2020
Supporters have taken to social media to encourage neighborhood members to name the Orlando Police Division about Baker’s demise. On the #JusticeForNevan Twitter thread, commenters are sharing the division’s telephone quantity and asking supporters to demand the investigation be reopened and that officers launch photographs from the scene.
5. Separate Hangings Over the Summer time Prompted Alarm
Baker’s demise is considered one of a number of latest circumstances which have sparked alarm. There have been a number of circumstances, that have been formally dominated suicides, of Black males discovered hanging from bushes. In California, Robert Fuller and Malcolm Harsch died 10 days aside again in June. Each circumstances have been dominated as suicides however each households demanded officers additional examine the deaths. The Related Press reported that federal officers, together with brokers from the FBI and the Division of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, have been additionally reviewing the investigations. Fuller’s demise was finally confirmed as suicide and the household’s legal professional didn’t dispute that consequence. Because the AP reported, investigators discovered Fuller had a “historical past of psychological sickness and suicidal ideas.”
Additionally in June, Bronx native Dominique Alexander’s demise was dominated a suicide after he was discovered hanging from a tree in Fort Tyron Park in Manhattan, Revolt TV reported. In Spring, Texas, a Black teenager was discovered hanging in an elementary faculty parking zone in mid-June. Officers stated there was no signal of foul play, Newsweek reported.
The hangings created concern about whether or not the deaths might have been the results of focused lynchings relatively than suicides. Howard College historical past professor Thomas Foster advised the Washington Put up, “The quite a few accounts of a deceased black man discovered hanging in a tree are a horrific reminder of our nation’s historical past. We’re in a second with parallels to the period of lynching that ought to trigger us nice suspicion of any rush to label the circumstances as suicide.”
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