It might seem like a “small” story, but the fact that it so closely follows the arc of a similar incident last summer is both frustrating and sad; so much for post-racial America.
As Twitchy reported, word spread on social media of a lynching in Washington State after an 18-year-old black Muslim man was found dead in a wooded area near his home. Ben Keita’s death was initially ruled a suicide, but the cause of death was changed to “undetermined,” reportedly under pressure from Keita’s family.
Still, the suspicion of lynching took root. Check out, for example, how the story currently appears at the International Business Times, complete with “related” video that cites the SPLC exclusively:
Actually, the FBI did not investigate; rather, it agreed to review the medical examiner’s findings and found no evidence of any criminal activity, though it left open the option of an investigation were new evidence to appear. Follow-up on the story in the media was practically nonexistent.
FBI: Muslim teen found hanged from a tree was not murdered https://t.co/seRcs0N5TC
— Marion Lucas (@MarionLucas52) March 8, 2017
Still, nearly a week after the FBI agreed there was no criminal activity, the University of Washington’s Black Student Union and Somali Student Association held a vigil and called for a full FBI investigation.
— CAIR National (@CAIRNational) March 7, 2017
— judalon tellis (@judalon_harris) March 9, 2017
The university’s student newspaper reported Wednesday on the vigil:
[Washington Council on American-Islamic Relations executive director Arsalan] Bukhari requested everyone to follow CAIR’s lead and publicly call for FBI involvement and mention why their community is affected by this, whether they are a Muslim or an ally. He also encouraged anyone with information about Keita’s death to contact the police or the FBI Seattle office.
“We are here to make sure Muslim rights are defended,” Bukhari said.
A small group of students gathered yesterday to acknowledge the death of a Seattle-area black, Muslim teenager. https://t.co/R37hmPa5NU
— The Daily of the UW (@thedaily) March 9, 2017
— Joanna Small (@JoannaKIRO7) March 8, 2017
Vigil for Brother Ben Keita. pic.twitter.com/ScXgsmnaD4
— Hassan™ (@HassanPRG) March 8, 2017
always amazing to see student groups organize thoughtful, important events thanks to @UWSeattleBSU and SSA for the vigil honoring Ben Keita
— Susana Machado (@smacha1995) March 8, 2017
* * *
'Where's the proof?' Goldie Taylor labels 'suspicious hanging' in Mississippi a 'lynching' http://t.co/HHBmduxSsj
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) March 20, 2015