/  10.15.2020

Documents released on Tuesday (Oct. 14) seem to support officers’ claims that there was no foul play in the hanging death of Nevan Baker, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

After the 22-year-old Black man was found hanging in a neighborhood park, the Orlando police and the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his death a suicide, but his family refused to believe that was true.

In an effort to maintain “transparency” and ”trust” within the community, Police Chief Orlando Rolón asked his staff to “expedite” requests for records related to the investigation, and photos and videos were subsequently released.

The images were not published, but they reportedly show Baker had no visible injuries or signs of trauma.

In bodycam footage, Baker was seen with at least one of his hands to his side as officers attempted to cut him loose, but they stopped once they realized he’d already died.

“Don’t try to cut it if there’s no signs of life,” one officer is heard saying. “If there’s no signs of life, leave it there.”

An autopsy also shows that the rope marks visible on Baker’s neck pointed upward which is consistent with self-harm.

Baker’s grandmother Francine James revealed that he had attempted suicide in 2018 and 2019 and did not seem “right the last several days,” but his mother Sharhonda James refuted the claims, noting he was “acting himself.” “They’re going to try to make him look bad, but to me, that says a lot about them.”

On Oct. 5, Baker’s body was discovered by a man who walking his dog in Barker Park. “I see a guy hanging from a tree,” he said. “I ain’t ever seen…that in real life.” Officers later arrived at the scene, and Baker was pronounced dead.

A GoFundMe campaign has been made to help the Baker family raise funds for his funeral expenses.


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