"Black [Palmdale,] California Man Found Hanging From a Tree Died of Suicide, Officials Say"

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

CNN (Jon Passantino & Jenn Selva) reports, on a case that was pretty prominent in the news together with a similar hanging in Victorville:

The death of a 24-year-old California man who was found hanging from a tree last month has been ruled a suicide, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department….

The determination came after a "thorough" investigation with the California Department of Justice and the FBI, sheriff's officials said at a press conference Thursday…..

Fuller died 10 days after another Black man, Malcolm Harsch, was found hanging in Victorville, about 50 miles from Palmdale. The deaths aroused suspicion of foul play….

The Victorville hanging has also been declared a suicide.

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  1. Black Lives Matter, RIP

    1. Here, possibly more pertinent, black deaths matter.

      1. Usually I think if it as ‘ending life’ rather than ‘starting death’

        1. These two never would have hit the news if still alive. Only their deaths matter. Same for so many other people, black or not.

          1. Putting it another way, it’s not about you. Their lives should have mattered to them.

            1. Just because the police decided to call them suicides, that doesn’t mean that they were suicides.

              1. The evidence is more important than your opinion of the police’s judgement.

              2. Cf. Jeffrey Epstein.

              3. “We choose truth over facts!”

  2. My first thought is autoerotic asphyxiation, but I’m wondering if the BLM hysteria is behind this.

    1. That’s messed up.

    2. Both men mentioned in the articles were hung from trees, outdoors. No mention of them being found naked. Why on Earth would you jump to autoerotic asphyxiation?

      Me, I’m thinking from a tree is not the easiest way to hang oneself. I’m wondering if they had help.

      1. Hanging involves a rope (or cord, or something similar) affixed to something overhead that is sturdy enough to support one’s body weight. What exactly makes using a tree limb for that purpose more difficult than anything else?

        1. Harder to reach.

          1. Tie a weight on the end of the rope. Throw it so it goes over the branch. Now you have a rope going over the tree, and two ends that you can reach. Anchor the end without the noose so it puts the noose at the proper height.
            You also need something to climb up, get the noose around your neck, and jump off. A picnic table with a strong tree branch over it will do, or the roof of a car, or you could bring a stepladder. But I wouldn’t recommend using something as low as a bench.
            OTOH, if you have to bring a ladder, maybe you can use it to reach the tree branch.

          2. How do investigators figure out that the victim did all this himself, rather than being hanged by others? I think that the main thing is that someone being lynched is going to fight and need to be restrained. A guy whose hands were tied didn’t do it himself, and those ties would leave marks even if the lynchers removed them afterwards. A guy who was beaten or drugged unconscious didn’t do it himself, and these also leave traces that a good medical examiner can find. And finally, there is likely to be screaming and loud crowd noises at a lynching – look for possible witnesses.

            And of course, also look for inconsistencies – like the lynchers used their own pickup truck to get the victim up and push him up, so there’s nothing left lying around that a suicide could have used.

            You can get ambiguous cases, like drug traces or bruises that aren’t clearly from the time of the hanging, but I expect that in most suicides by hanging, it’s pretty clear from the physical evidence that the dead man wanted to die.

  3. For those who out of the loop, There’s supposedly some KKK superagents running around the country lynching black men leaving no trace behind because its impossible to imagine that you might come across a handful of black men who hanged themselves if you scour the casefiles of the entire country long enough.

    Yes this is a theory thats knocking on the door of mainstream acceptance right now believe it or not. What are the betting odds that the media and tech companies are going to crack down and start filtering this like they filter and FACTCHECK other ‘conspiracy theories’?

    1. You got a source for this, or are you just writing your own narrative after hearing some lefty say these suicides seem suspicious?

          1. I see nothing about KKK superagents in either of your links, Ed.

            1. Are you incapable of detecting sarcasm, now?

              1. I’m well known for ironically missing that around here, but Yes this is a theory thats knocking on the door of mainstream acceptance right now believe it or not seems to belie sarcasm to me.

                1. “KKK superagents” was the sarcastic part, referring to some set of individuals who are not necessarily members of that organization. It’s time to pick another pseudonym.

                  1. It’s time to pick another pseudonym.

                    Pedantro?

    2. If they had hung been hung indoors, from a stair banister or exposed ceiling joists in a basement, attic or garage, I would be less skeptical of suicide.

      And murder of a black man by hanging doesn’t automatically have to be white supremacists.

      1. If they had hung been hung indoors, from a stair banister or exposed ceiling joists in a basement, attic or garage, I would be less skeptical of suicide.

        Because?

        1. The stereotypical KKK lynching _was_ always outdoors, because they _wanted_ to be seen (although usually masked so witnesses could deny recognizing anyone) – but that was a long time ago. These days, a scene like that would have the neighbors calling the police, taking cell-phone videos, and quite likely getting out their guns and stopping it if the police took too long. It is difficult to imagine a western-movie lynch mob fitting into a small room, but a typical living room would hold enough people – and in this day, it’s rather stupid to have a crowd gather to murder someone out where anyone can see it.

      2. ‘Been hung’ isn’t skepticism. Suicidal people don’t live and die according to your desires. A tree is as good as a bridge or a rafter. A tree might also allow 1 to make a statement when 1 thinks their life is worth nothing.

      3. I agree that the murder of a black man by hanging doesn’t automatically have to be white supremacists. In a typical murder case with a black victim, there’s an 80 to 90% chance that the murderer was a black man. Hanging is unusual in such murders; it takes planning, materials that thugs usually don’t carry, uncommon skill in tying knots, and more time and effort than shooting, knifing, or even beating the victim’s head in with a brick. But a gang might well think it’s worth the trouble to hang a victim when they don’t want the death associated with them, because so many would assume that it’s a racial lynching.

  4. California trees bear a strange fruit.

    1. Such an evocative phrase. First time you hear it you wonder…and then you get it.

      Goosebumps.

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