Southern alumnus investigates modern-day lynchings | Families
Southern alumnus uncovers recent lynchings in TV special
By Candace J. Semien
In the latest Investigation Discovery’s INJUSTICE FILES: AT THE END OF THE ROPE, Southern University alumnus Keith Beauchamp probes the shocking claim that lynchings may still be a reality today.
The two-hour special airs at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 21 on Investigation Discovery. View details online at http://investigation.discovery.com/tv/injustice-files/. ID can be found on Cox channel 103 or DirectTV channel 285 and ATT Uverse channel 260.
Beauchamp examines four modern-day hangings and the evidence that led investigators to rule them as suicides.
He takes in the assistance of a criminologist, psychologist and forensic pathologist and probes through the cases of Raynard Johnson, Nick Naylor, Keith Warren, and Izell Parrott who were believed to be lynched from 1996 to 2006. For years, the families have searched for answers to confirm their deep rooted-beliefs that foul play is at hand even though investigators closed the case as suicides. Even after being ruled suicides the families of the deceased believe their loved ones were murdered, and these beliefs are echoing fears of an underground resurgence of vigilante hate crimes.
In July 1986, Warren was hung from a tree near his home but authorities ruled it a suicide at the scene and didn't do an autopsy. His body was sent and embalmed before notifying his family. After receiving photos of a complex arrangement of ropes on two trees, his mother exhumed his body only to find high concentration of chemicals in his system.
Johnson was hung by his belt from a tree in front of his home in June 2000, and the hanging was considered a suicide. “We know that that’s not true,” said one family member “He was planning his future…He was not planning to end his life.” “His crime was that he was dating a white girl,” said another. 61-year-old Jones’ decomposed body found in 2006 hanging from a tree but was ruled a suicide and an autopsy was denied. He, too, was known to be friendly with white women.
Hung with his dog leash in January 2003, Naylor, was found near a deer hunting camp where hunters told family he must have “caught that early morning train”—a saying known by Blacks to mean he was lynched.
From the moment of death, their families have fought the suicide verdicts. Were these cases modern day lynchings? The evidence—or lack—may prove so. The special is said to illuminate an ugly truth in present day America.
“Beauchamp does what he does best by searching for answers in the murky waters where injustice, racial tension and rash judgments can distort the truth,” said Henry Schleiff, president and general manager of Investigation Discovery.