SACRAMENTO, Calif — A man who was found hanging at a Sacramento park earlier in October has died, according to a video shared by family on Oct. 26.
Willie Brown Jr. when was found on Oct. 19 at Countryside Community Park, according to a GoFundMe page organized by Jaysean Brown.
“When he was found, the first responders were able to restart his heart, but he remained unconscious and relied on ventilators to stay alive,” the page reads.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department called the incident an attempted suicide and said they do not suspect foul play. But family members are skeptical.
“It does not sit right with the family understanding the historical record of Black men being found dead with their deaths ruled suicide all the while being victims of white supremacist hate crimes,” Jaysean Brown said on the GoFundMe page. “We have seen a pattern of Black men being hung over the last few months all the while witnessing the violence white supremacist terror groups have been planning and executing in the same timeframe.”
Brown Jr. is one of a few hanging deaths in California since May that authorities have ruled as a suicide. Malcom Harsch, 38, was found hanging from a tree in Victorville on May 31. Robert Fulton, 24, was found hanging in a park near City Hall in Palmdale on June 10.
The FBI, U.S. attorney’s office in the Central District of California, and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division stepped in to monitor the investigations of the Los Angeles County and San Bernardino County sheriff’s departments.
“So right now, there is a lot of death with police killings, community killings, suicidal killings, or mental health killings. So, there is so much going on in the community when you’re looking at it how do we solve this problem,” said Zion Taddese, with I Am Sac Foundation and owner of Quen Sheeba's restaurant.
“To solve all of this problem, we have to unite first we have to try to work together first. And then we can start finding the solution. It’s not a black problem it’s not a white problem or Asian, it’s an American problem right now what is going on,” Taddese added.
The I Am Sac Foundation held a solidarity event at the park where Brown was found. Members prayed and offered support for family members.
Fuller's and Harsch's families, like Brown's, were also skeptical of the sheriff department's determination. But after the investigation was completed, Fuller's death was confirmed as a suicide. Harsch's family later released a statement confirming Malcolm's death as a suicide after authorities showed them video evidence of his death.
“The family needs to be supported at this time. Whether it was suicide or not, the family needs to know what happened,” said Sequette Clark, mother of Stephon Clark. “In the case of Stephon, I lost him and I didn’t know why. I didn’t know why I lost him and so I empathized with their family. I wish there was something that could have been done to prevent his untimely death and so that’s why we’re here.”
Brown was described as a beloved father, son, brother, and friend.
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