On Tuesday at around 6 a.m., Davion Gatlin was walking through Indiana Mounds Park in St. Paul, Minnesota, when he came upon a man hanged by the neck in a tree. He took pictures of the gruesome scene and immediately posted them to Facebook to complain that police had lynched a black man:
Gatlin’s post was picked up and shared (with the pictures of the dead man) by the Minneapolis Black Lives Matter chapter, which helped the post go viral among other Black Lives Matter-related pages:
“A man was found lynched in St. Paul, MN this morning. St. Paul PD was quick to call this a suicide while witnesses on the scene say the man’s hands were tied behind his back. We are hurt by the tragic news and know that this despicable & disgusting act of cowardice will not be erased.”
However, this was ruled a suicide due to mental illness and the 50-year-old victim, who was white, is Michael Bringle. Police rebuked the false narrative perpetrated by BLM:
His hands were not tied behind his back. Michael’s passing is incredibly hard on those who cared about him, and their pain has been compounded by the inconsiderate and downright disgusting act of posting and sharing a picture of him hanging from a tree on Facebook. If you have posted or shared the photos, please take them down so the family can begin to heal and Michael can rest in peace.
BLM Minneapolis later apologized for its part in spreading a lie:
We would like to apologize to the family of Michael Bringle for sharing those photos & also retract our statements regarding what happened this morning. As more information came out & Mr. Bringle’s family came forward it became clear that this was an unfortunate incident caused by mental illness. We are sorry if our post offended anyone & hope that folks see we were simply echoing the questions and concerns that community members had. We will absolutely respect the family’s wishes and take down the initial post, our hearts are with them at this time.
Another BLM group posted a photo of the man with this note:
This was Michael Bringle - who we all believed was black and found in the Indian Mounds was actually white. As we did our own investigation we discovered the truth. Our intentions are not to spread lies, but to figure out what happen given the small information we received.
In the picture, he did appear black, but he wasn’t. However, they say his hands weren’t bound behind his back, but in the picture that was taken it appeared that way. No matter what - He has our condolences. It’s unclear what exactly happened, but may his body rest in peace. #RIP
Gatlin, who started this whole thing, remains defiant about his version of the story. Though it appears he has deleted the original post, even though he said he wouldn’t, he continues ranting on Facebook that black people are being lynched: