In a leafy, urban park, amid a backdrop of gleaming skyscrapers, a black man’s body was found dangling from a tree.
Police officials said the incident early Thursday in Atlanta’s Piedmont Park appeared to be a suicide. The city’s mayor, Kasim Reed, said evidence suggested “no foul play.” Yet the suspicion grew.
With African Americans across the nation on edge after consecutive fatal police shootings of black men – Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota – rumor, and then panic spread. Within hours, the hashtag #PiedmontParkHanging was trending on Twitter.
“Just read that a black man was hung in Atlanta by kkk,” one Twitter user wrote. “And they’re saying it’s a suicide.”