The Case of The Hanging Tree Down in Atlanta

tumblr_mlz3m5R6CB1s5jjtzo1_1280you know suicide is a touchy subject for me.
it’s something i have struggled with for years.
i’m never one to not admit what weighs me down.
depression is no joke and i wouldn’t wish it on my worse enemy.
well everyone say goodbye to michael george smith jr.
he was also known as “london jermaine” on facebook.
he took his own life by hanging,
when everyone thought he was lynched during “hell last week” for the blacks.
a foxholer sent me the story via project q


The young man that police said took his own life in Piedmont Park – a suicide that gained national attention and fueled social media outrage – was a 22-year-old LGBT college student who lived in Midtown and faced blowback from his family for being gay.

Michael George Smith Jr., a native of Hackensack, N.J., was found hanging from a tree near the Charles Allen Drive entrance to the park about 4:30 a.m. on Thursday. On Tuesday, Atlanta police identified the man as Smith, who is black, in an effort to quash social media speculation that his death was a “modern-day lynching.” Smith’s suicide came during a week of protests in Atlanta and across the nation over recent police shootings and Mayor Kasim Reed faced questions about Smith’s death from protesters on Friday.

But the Fulton County Medical Examiner’s office ruled that Smith’s cause of death was asphyxiation by hanging and the manner of death was suicide.

Smith tied a white rope to a branch of the tree and then around his neck and hung himself, according to an incident report from the Atlanta Police Department. He had earbuds in his ears and was wearing a backpack, along with a grey t-shirt, black jeans and a pair of black Converse Chuck Taylors, police said.

Police also found a large wheeled garbage can next to the tree with a shoe print on its lid that matched Smith’s shoes. He also had light pollen on his shirt and marks on his jeans from climbing the tree, police said.

There were no defensive wounds on Smith’s body and no signs of a struggle, police said in the incident report.

Just minutes before Smith’s body was found, he posted a haunting message on his Facebook page – where he identifies as London Jermaine.


On Tuesday, after Smith’s name was released publicly, friends and relatives quickly identified him as London Jermaine on social media. His Facebook profile says he lived in Midtown and studied computer science at Georgia Tech. (A spokesperson for Tech said the school doesn’t have a student matching Smith’s information.)

Smith posted regularly to his Facebook and Instagram accounts about being gay, his Man Candy Monday crushes, relationship issues and struggling with family over his sexual orientation

On June 17, he posted a screen capture of a conversation in which a sibling texted him, “God doesn’t born gay people. You make yourself gay.” Smith added this status to the image: “My mother is teaching my siblings to dispise Gays.. I’m done with Life. I’m Hurt To The Core.”

Four days earlier, on June 13, Smith posted again about his struggles with being gay: “Being Gay in America is Hard. Being Black in America is Hard. Imagine being both #NoH8.”

Smith was also recently coping with health problems, according to his Facebook posts.

On May 16, Smith was apparently in a New Jersey hospital – to be treated for food poisoning, he said in a separate post – and posted this: “Honestly I’m not scared to die. I’m ready! I wish they’d speed the process up.”

In another post, Smith said he was suffering from food poisoning. But a day later, on May 17, Smith said he was undergoing a CT scan. “Please No to Have Colon Cancer… I thought I was free of everything.”

In another post that same day, Smith replied to a comment thread that he had cancer. “I don’t want the cancer to spread. I don’t wanna do kemo.”

Hours after a security guard discovered Smith’s body in the park, Reed issued a statement saying he was “deeply saddened” and called for a “robust investigation” into his death. Atlanta police also referred the case to the FBI.

“Everything we have seen suggests that there was no foul play involved, but I want to state clearly and unequivocally that we will not prejudge the circumstances surrounding this young man’s death,” Reed said in the prepared statement. “APD will share all evidence discovered in the course of the investigation. We ask for the public’s support and cooperation as we work to resolve this matter.”

On Wednesday, the FBI referred questions about the status of its investigation to Atlanta police.

this is a very sad story.
everyone is struggling with something out here.
you may never know until it’s too late.
for those who judge those who want to kill themselves,
try to look at it from different eyes.
it’s the pain they want to go away.
the black community really needs to start addressing mental health issues.
we try to sweep that,
and sexuality,
under the rug.
say some prayers and “poof” it’s magically solved.

“God will handle it baby”

sometimes God needs a little help through your assistance.
rip to michael george smith jr.

article credited: project q

10 thoughts on “The Case of The Hanging Tree Down in Atlanta

  1. Fuck his mom as far as I’m concerned. I hope this plays on her conscious until she is 6 feet under. And that goes for EVERY homophobic family who have lost their gay children to suicide. Y’all better live with that burden and demon and beg the Lord for forgiveness. Because you can swear that you’ll be homophobic forever but LIFE has a way of teaching people. Especially through hard times. You will learn when it’s already too late. But your ass WILL learn.

  2. The family members are in part responsible, at least for their roles in this. I won’t place the entirety of the blame on them because ultimately the person who commits the act is responsible, but to absolve them from any responsibility on the matter, nope. I’m sure that played a big part in his decision. At least, in my eyes. Usually if someone’s parents reject them for x,y,z reasons a lot of people have a support system through their friends, maybe other family members. Perhaps he had no one. When people have no one with no love in their lives, it’s just not a good situation for certain people.

    I’m sure there were other things going on as well in his mind. Not everybody has the faculties to deal with the struggles of being a minority of any kind, they don’t necessarily need to have a mental disorder to be susceptible to it, and if you don’t have a support system while at the same time being mentally fragile, well, it’s not good.

    Either way you spin it. It’s just sad.

  3. I read about this last week.Some people thought it was a murder because “Black folks don’t hang themselves”.That is a myth.My uncle,my mother’s only brother, hung himself.He was depressed as a result of chronic pain from a near fatal car accident.We knew he was constantly in pain but nobody thought he would take his life because he was religious.You know some people believe if you commit suicide you go to Hell.BTW I don’t believe that.
    For this young man I am so sorry that he felt hopeless.I hope his death is not in vain and people will learn more about depression and paying attention to the warning signs.After my uncle died one of my aunts told me he had spoken about suicide,his wife said the same thing.We need to understand if you have a loved one talking about suicide,you have to intervene.It is a myth that people who talk about suicide are simply trying to get attention.It is a myth that people who talk about suicide aren’t serious and won’t go through it.The fact is most people who commit suicide have communicated their intent beforehand.
    RIP to him

    Also RIP to the 80 people who died in Nice,France attack.

    1. Preaching the truth!
      My older cousin said he would stab himself with a knife. People put it off as anger issues, him just talking, and him being crazy. He drove off a cliff into a lake not longer after. My grandmother, bless her, was the only one to notice something different about him and she tried her best to help him. I think it hurt her more than his parents.

  4. I’m not a fan of the assumption he killed himself of his family’s issue with him being gay. He’s ATL the Mecca of Gay black men away from his family and obviously not in school.

    I can already see people using this as an opportunity to attack religion.

    No point in looking at every facebook status and taking everything so literal when we have no idea what the sentiments were behind those statuses at the time.

    Sounds like he might have been bipolar to me among other health related issues.

      1. That’s nothing new. A lot of men get to ATL and get buck wild and drop out of school or maybe that was all a front to get to ATL in the first place.

        1. ^sounds like those down south who come to new yawk.
          bright lights,
          big city,
          and even bigger dicks.
          they back home 3 months later with nothing to show for themselves.

  5. May he rest in peace I’m curious on what his family had to say after learning this.

    1. ^excellent question mikey.
      in a perfect world they are mourning.
      they may change their ignorance.
      in reality,
      they could have banished him to hell.

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