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A Century later, The Death of an Indiana Man is Ruled a Lynching Instead of a Suicide

The 1922 death of George Tompkins has now been ruled a homicide by a coroner.

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In 1922, George Tompkins , 19, was found hanging from a tree in Indiana. Believe it or not, it took nearly 100 years for his death to be ruled a lynching by officials, according to NBC News.

One hundred years ago, Although Tompkins’ hands were bound behind his back, his death had been ruled a suicide which resulted in no one ever being arrested.

On Saturday, however the record was corrected by Marion County Deputy Chief Coroner Alfie McGinty, who displayed a new death certificate that ruled Tompkins’ death a homicide.

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According to NBC News, McGinty said: “We will bring justice to something that was unconscionable to me. We are proud to be a part of this history some 100 years later, and we will remember George Tompkins.”

The Indiana Remembrance Coalition has been advocating for Tompkins’ death certificate to be changed for months.

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From NBC News:

Phil Breman, a volunteer administrator with the group, said Tompkins’ case stood out because it was so casually brushed aside with no follow-up by local authorities.

“It got written off in two days as a suicide. His lynching was buried before his body was, if you can fathom that,” Breman, a retired Ball State University communications professor, said Monday.

“He was lynched on March 16. He was buried on March 20. The story disappeared no later than March 19. It was gone from the front pages, gone from the papers in two days.”

Tompkins walked out of his home 7:30 a.m. the day of his death, his family said at the time, and he was found hanging from a tree at about 2 p.m. near the corner or Lafayette and Cold Spring roads.

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According to NBC News, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said, “This recognition comes one hundred years too late. It is up to public officials like myself and others to preserve and promote equal justice for all residents of our city.”

Meanwhile, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb’s chief equity, inclusion and opportunity officer Karrah Herring said that the admission of Tompkins’ death a century later is still important and valuable.

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Just last week, Congress passed the Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act that would make lynching a hate crime.