June 13, 2024

Orlando police release evidence in hanging death of Nevan Baker

New evidence has been released in the Florida hanging death of 22-year-old Nevan Baker.

“The Orlando Police Department is committed to transparency and strengthening trust with everyone in our community,” Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolón said in a statement.

In their report, Orlando Police records found no evidence of foul play in the hanging death of Nevan Baker and noted the young man had twice previously attempted suicide.

In their report, police records found no evidence of foul play and noted the young man had twice previously attempted suicide.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, an autopsy determined the rope marks around Baker’s neck were upward, which is consistent with self-harm, the report said.

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Police also released 911 calls and footage from the body-worn cameras of officers who responded to the incident on Oct. 5.

“I was walking my dog, and there’s a guy in the middle of the park hanging,” a male voice told responders in a 911 call. “He’s got a rope around his neck. He’s hanging right now.”

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The new evidence was released at the request of the Orlando Sentinel after Baker’s family insisted that he would not harm himself.

The family said witnesses had told them Baker was bruised and possibly missing teeth, however, police released photos that did not appear to show visible injuries.

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Police also said Baker’s clothes were not torn or tattered and claim there were no signs of a struggle. They also said that detectives searched the park for a suicide note but did not find one.

In body camera footage, officers are seen working to cut the young man down from the tree. The video showed that Baker’s hands were not bound, which disputes an online rumor.

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In another video, officers are seen rousing a man who had been sleeping on a bench in the park to ask him if he had seen anything.

According to the Sentinel report, Baker’s grandmother, Francine James, told detectives that he had previously attempted suicide in 2018 and again in 2019. His mother told the newspaper that it was only once.

In the week since Baker’s death, the investigation has revealed further mistrust in the Orlando Police Department after a summer of multiple instances of Black people found dead hanging in public spaces.

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