TUSKEGEE -- Tuskegee police still are investigating the death of 29-year-old Winston Deroyal Carter, who was found hanging from a tree on County Road 65 in Tuskegee.
Tuskegee Police Chief Lester Patrick said a passerby noticed something hanging from a tree, but needed a second look. The passerby turned his car around, discovered Carter hanging from the tree and immediately called the police at 6:15 a.m. Friday.
Carter's body was sent to the state crime lab to determine the cause of death. However, Patrick said that from information his department has gathered about the case, he is leaning toward suicide.
Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. today at the Wall Street AME Church, with burial in the church cemetery."
I googled the vicitim's name and found that this story has not been picked up by any other news source. I went back to my emails and noticed mention of details not in the article, above. I inquired and was referred to Scott B., a former worker for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.
Yesterday, on Wednesday, August 18, Scott B. was a guest on Montgomery, Alabama's WKXN call-in radio talk show, It's For Real. Scott B., who is now retired in Montgomery, Alabama with his wife Linda, was talking about some of the issues facing African Americans in Montgomery today. During the show, a caller called in from Tuskegee and said that a man was found lynched on Friday morning.
Scott B. called the Tuskegee Police who replied that there hasn't been any lynching in Tuskegee. He called the Montgomery Advertiser, which could not provide any information about the situation. Scott B. decided to go to Tuskegee himself and talked to people in the local community. As the short article mentions, Carter's body was found at 6:15 a.m. last Friday, August 13. Before the police arrived on the scene, the news got out to the community and a substantial crowd gathered and saw Carter's body, still hanging from the tree. Observers noticed that Carter's shoelaces had been tied together and used to hold his pants up instead of his belt, which was used to hang him from the tree. Community members also saw that there was no available surface for Carter to step off of in order to hang himself. Rather, he would have had to have climbed up the tree with no laces in his shoes and straddle the branch, in order to attach himself to it by his belt, and then lower himself down with his own arms from that position. As a method of suicide this seems highly improbable if not physically impossible.
Scott B. called the Montgomery Advertiser again to relate what he'd learned and ask if they could provide any further information. Today, six days after Winston Deroyal Carter's body was found, the Montgomery Advertiser printed the story I quoted above. Mr. Carter was buried today, making further examination of his body unlikely and the word from Police Chief Patrick is that he is "leaning towards suicide."
Scott B. said to me, "The Civil War is not over. The South had not changed." He also explained that there is not the same basis there once was in the African American community to meet a situation like this.
If this story does not get national attention quickly, there is no chance for justice. We cannot allow this. Blog this. Email this. Write letters. Don't let this story disappear.