Family Looking for Answers as Orlando Police Say Hanged Black Man Nevan Baker Died by Suicide

The family of 22-year-old Nevan Baker is unconvinced by the Orlando Police Department saying his death was by suicide, particularly after reviewing evidence.

black man orlando park

Image via Getty/ Andrew Francis Wallace

black man orlando park

The family of a Black man who was discovered to be hanging from a tree in Orlando, Florida is demanding answers after the police ruled the death to be a suicide.

Nevan Baker’s mother Sharhonda James is unconvinced that her 22-year-old son committed suicide, particularly after seeing the Orlando Police Department’s evidence, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

“We don’t have answers to everything,” James said on Monday after meeting with the OPD. “They tried to explain some things, but they still weren’t adding up.”

In addition to the evidence, Baker’s family, community leaders, and an attorney were shown crime scene photos and footage from body cameras worn by the officers who responded to the scene.

“Some of the investigative details provided to the family members include body-worn camera video that showed Nevan’s hands were not tied behind his back and crime scene photos that illustrated Nevan had no bruising on his body," OPD said in a statement Monday afternoon.

UPDATE: Please see the statement below.

— Orlando Police (@OrlandoPolice) October 12, 2020

James said the evidence didn’t prove to her that her son’s hands were never tied behind his back before the cops got there—and it looks like civil rights attorney Ben Crump agrees with her. James also said she saw her son’s nose was swelling, there were bumps on his forehead, and his jaw was injured.

Nevan Baker was found HANGING from a tree in Orlando. @OrlandoPolice quickly ruled his death a suicide but now we learn his hands were tied, teeth missing and face bruised. We demand transparency and a comprehensive investigation so we know exactly what happened! #JusticeForNevan

— Ben Crump (@AttorneyCrump) October 11, 2020

Prior to this meeting, the police issued a statement saying, “Officers have exhausted all leads and, at this time, there is no evidence of foul play or any kind of physical struggle.”

Baker was found in Barker Park just after 3:30 a.m. on Oct. 5 when police responded to a call that a person saw a man hanging from a tree.

"You cannot take lightly when a Black person is found hanging from a tree. You cannot rule it a suicide immediately before you do a thorough investigation," Francine James, Baker's grandmother said, per WESH-2.

Baker’s sister has set up a GoFundMe campaign for his funeral arrangements.

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