Groups apologize for spreading lynching rumor after St. Paul man took his own life

Micheal Bringle's family wants him to be remembered as a beloved person.
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Micheal Bringle's family wants him to be remembered as a beloved person.

A 50-year-old St. Paul man killed himself in a park, his body found hanging from a tree Tuesday morning. 

Photos of the scene were shared on social media, along with a rumor the man – who some thought was black – had been lynched, with his hands bound behind his back.

But that wasn't the case, according to the man's family, police and the medical examiner.

Now, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis and Black Lives Matter St. Paul have apologized for sharing the photos. They also apologized for suggesting Micheal Bringle had been killed by someone, and that police were covering it up as a suicide. 

"We would like to apologize to the family of Micheal Bringle for sharing those photos and also retract our statements regarding what happened," Black Lives Matter Minneapolis wrote on Facebook, noting the group was "echoing the questions and concerns" people in the community had over the man's death.

In a post on Facebook, Black Lives Matter St. Paul said: "Our intentions are not to spread lies, but to figure out what happen [sic] given the small information we received."

The group noted Bringle looked black in the photos and his hands did appear to be tied around his back. 

"No matter what – He has our condolences. It's unclear what exactly happened, but may his body rest in peace," Black Lives Matter St. Paul said. 

Bringle was 'loved by many'

Bringle's family, through the St. Paul Police Department, has shared a photo of Bringle when he was alive, asking that he "be remembered as a person who was loved by many."

His family and the police department have asked that photos of him hanging from the tree in Indian Mounds Park be taken down, with police noting the family's pain "has been compounded by the inconsiderate and downright disgusting act of posting and sharing" his picture on Facebook. 

Bringle's family described him as a kind person who was easy to like. He loved working on old cars and helping his friends. Indian Mounds Park was one of his favorite places. 

Kelly Brown-Rozowski, Bringle's sister, thinks he struggled for years with mental health issues, but didn't reach out for help, according to the Pioneer Press. She's hoping this tragedy will help others who may also be suffering.

If you need help

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, there are several resources in the state available to get the help they need.

And you can always call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 to speak to someone right away.

Suicide in Minnesota

The annual rate of suicide has been trending upward both in Minnesota and nationally, according to the Minnesota Department of Health.

In 2015, there were 726 suicide deaths in Minnesota, the health department’s most recent data shows. That’s a 6 percent increase from the 686 Minnesotans who died by suicide in 2014.

That increase was driven by the number of men who took their own life, with the health department noting half of the increase in suicides happened among white men ages 25-34.

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