Protests Continue In Atlanta After Developments In Piedmont Park Hanging
Residents in Georgia have continued to take to the streets to call for justice following the shootings of two black men by police officers and for answers of a man found hanging from a tree in Piedmont Park.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the protest was started by the NAACP, along with Black Lives Matter of Greater Atlanta Friday (June 8) afternoon. In a statement, both groups condemned the shootings of police officers in Dallas. “Change must come to policing in America but it cannot and will not come at the end of a barrel of a gun” said Francys Johnson, Georgia NAACP president.
"Black activists have raised the call for an end to violence, not an escalation of it," BLM's statement reads. "Yesterday’s attack was the result of the actions of a lone gunman. To assign the actions of one person to an entire movement is dangerous and irresponsible. We continue our efforts to bring about a better world for all of us."
Multiple groups marched peacefully around Atlanta, stopping at the CNN Center and Centennial Olympic Park. Several hundred protesters were blocked from entering the I-75/85 highway. There were reportedly no arrests.
Rapper-actor T.I. also took part in the march with his children.
Prior to the march, police released more information on the incident known widely as the Piedmont Park Hanging. On Thursday (July 7), an African-American man was found dead hanging from a tree in Piedmont Park. A police report was released on Friday (July 8), coinciding with initial reports that the man's death was by suicide. The AJC reports the man, aged between 25-35, was found with marks and pollen on the front of his clothes, possibly from climbing a tree. “I then examined the top of the garbage can and noted shoe prints were near the top edges of the can,” police said. “The shoe prints appeared to be fresh and were the same pattern as the shoes the male was wearing.”
Mayor Kasim Reed noted that the FBI have been called to the investigate the hanging. Police added that there was no truth surrounding speculation that the Ku Klux Klan were recruiting near the park before the man's death. “I’ve been following internet and social media chatter and they are saying things that are just not true," Reed said.
FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett told reporters, “The FBI is not commenting on the matter at this time." .
On Saturday, protests continued at popular shopping outlet, Lenox Mall lead by producer and Love & Hip Hop Atlanta star, Stevie J.