Sheila Jackson Lee urges Houston officials to investigate hanging death 'thoroughly'

Sheila Jackson Lee urges Houston officials to investigate hanging death 'thoroughly'
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Rep. Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeTexas Democrats call for new stay-at-home order Local reparations initiatives can lead to national policy remedying racial injustice House to vote on removing bust of Supreme Court justice who wrote Dred Scott ruling MORE (D-Texas) is calling for a thorough investigation into the hanging death of a Hispanic man in Houston after several similar incidents involving black men.

Houston Police have said they believe the man, who was found hanging from a tree in the city's Shady Acres neighborhood, took his own life and that they do not suspect foul play. However, Lee pointed to several other recent hangings and said that, taken together, they bear closer investigation.

"People are on edge. They are nervous. This is a very troubling and challenging time for us. It is shocking in our community and no death in that form should go uninvestigated, so it will be my effort, since it occurred seemingly in the 18th Congressional District, to make sure that it is investigated thoroughly," Lee told Fox 26 in Houston.

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Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo tweeted Monday that the man’s family said he was suicidal.

However, people near the scene also told the TV station they were unconvinced the death did not involve any foul play.

"With everything that’s been transpiring, with all of the hangings that have been taking place within the last two weeks, why wouldn't you automatically assume foul play? No one is hanging themselves from a tree," a local man who declined to identify himself said, referencing two black men found hanging in California and a third in New York, as well as the protests against racism and police brutality that have swept the country since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis May 25.

Another of the cases, the death of Robert Fuller, was first ruled a suicide, but Los Angeles County coroner Jonathan Lucas walked back the pronouncement Monday, saying he now believed "we should look into it a little more deeply and carefully, just considering all the circumstances at play."