Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed issued a statement Thursday afternoon announcing that the case regarding a black man found hanging from a tree in the city's Piedmont Park has been referred to the FBI, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
According to the site, the announcement came hours after social media users expressed suspicions and outrage, with some tagging it as "another modern-day lynching," even as the Atlanta Police Department said that the scene was consistent with a suicide.
An autopsy has not yet been performed.
“I am deeply saddened by the loss of a young man’s life last night in Piedmont Park,” Reed said. “This disturbing event demands our full attention. The Atlanta Police Department is conducting a robust investigation into his death, and I have asked to receive regular briefings on the status of the investigation.”
Officers were called to the park just before 5 a.m. Thursday and discovered the unidentified man's body hanging from a tree by a rope.
The victim was identified as a black man between the ages of 23 and 35, 11 Alive reports.
“There were no discernible signs of a struggle or foul play,” police spokesman Donald Hannah said. A “Fulton County medical examiner concurred that the death was consistent with a suicide.”
However, in light of the recent officer-involved deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, social media users were suspicious about the suicide angle.
Mayor Reed asked the public for patience.
“Everything we have seen suggests that there was no foul play involved, but I want to state clearly and unequivocally that we will not prejudge the situation,” Reed said. “APD will share all evidence discovered in the course of the investigation. We ask for the public’s support and cooperation as we work to resolve this matter.”