Black man found dead hanging from a tree in Georgia

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By The Huffington Post

State and federal officials are investigating the hanging death of a black man whose body was discovered Monday morning roughly 70 miles east of Atlanta in Greene County, Georgia.

The man was identified as 43-year-old Roosevelt Champion III, NBC News reports. Champion was found hanging from a tree behind a residence that was not his own, the Greensboro Police Department told the Atlanta Journal-Constituion.

Law enforcement said that Champion was hanging by a strap like those used to secure cargo on car roofs, with no visible wounds and his feet brushing the ground, NBC reports.

Though homicide has not been ruled out, Rusty Andrews, deputy director of investigation at the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, told Action 2 News that investigators initially found no signs of struggle or other trauma to Champion’s body or anything else that would indicate someone other than the victim was involved.

Champion had been interviewed in connection with the murder of a woman on May 2 but had not been charged, Andrews told the station.

GBI Special Agent Joe Wooten said that several people have already been interviewed in connection with Champion’s death, according to NBC.

“I understand that there is a lot of concern” raised by the news of a black man being hanged in the Deep South, Wooten said. “Because of that, we’re going to be as transparent as we can be.”

Over a month ago, Otis Byrd, a 54-year-old black man, was found hanged from a tree in Claiborne County, Mississippi. The FBI has disclosed the autopsy results to Byrd’s family but has not said publicly whether his death was by suicide or homicide.

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