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St. Paul man's hanging death ruled a suicide amid claims of 'lynching'

Michael Bringle's body was discovered hanging in St. Paul's Indian Mounds Park early Tuesday morning.

Michael Bringle's body was discovered hanging in St. Paul's Indian Mounds Park early Tuesday morning. Star Tribune file

A man was discovered hanging from a tree in St. Paul's Indian Mounds Park early Tuesday morning. 

He was deceased by the time police arrived. The man was 50 years old, and has been identified as Michael Bringle.

Soon after Bringle was found, a Facebook post began circulating with three disturbing pictures of the scene including Bringle and nearby police officers. "They still killing us and we still killing each other!" wrote the poster, Davion Gatlin, adding the hashtag "#MakeGoViral."

That request worked: By midday, his post had been shared more than 6,000 times. Many who've viewed it believe the man in the photo's hands are tied behind his back.

St. Paul Police received an outpouring of questions and comments, and responded with a Facebook post of their own. The statement reads:

"Officers were dispatched to the park at about 5:40 morning after the man was found by a passerby on his way to work. Our officers located the man and called Saint Paul Fire medics to the scene. Sadly, there was nothing they could do. The Ramsey County medical examiner took possession of the man's body and has ruled the cause of death to be suicide. These types of cases are difficult for everyone--people who loved the man, the community and our officers. We're keeping all in our thoughts and prayers."

According to the Pioneer Press, the Ramsey County medical examiner has determined the victim is "Caucasian," and that his hands were not tied behind his back.

Black Lives Matter St. Paul disagrees strongly with that assessment, claiming on its own Facebook page that the man found in Indian Mounds Park had been "lynched," and reiterated the claim his hands were tied behind his back.

BLM St. Paul (which is not affiliated with Black Lives Matter Minneapolis) also said the police and media are "lying" about what happened. The group also called a press conference scheduled for 2:00 p.m. Tuesday at 10 Mounds Blvd. in St. Paul. "We're not letting this go under the rug!"

Chief investigator Lori Hedican tells the Pioneer Press there is "no evidence" that Bringle's death was "anything other than suicide." 

UPDATE: Kelly Brown-Rozowski, Michael Bringle's sister, has asked that people stop sharing and take down the images of Bringle's hanging.