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A North Carolina man who survived a lynching in 1952 is sharing details about how law enforcement hung him from a tree as part of an intimidation tactic.
The incident occurred in 1952, in Wake County, N.C., when then-police chief Sam Bagwell arrested eight Black men, including Lynn Council, and accused them of robbing a local convenience store.
According to WFMY News 2, all of the men were questioned, but only Council was singled out and lynched from a tree for about a minute.
“I didn’t do it,” Council told WFMY News 2, referring to the crime he was accused of by notoriously racist former police chief Bagwell. “But I was taken to jail on Tuesday. I was tried on Wednesday, and I was hung on Thursday.”
Council claims two sheriff deputies came for him the day after his arrest. They drove him to a remote location, led him to a tree, and tied a noose around his neck.
“I thought they were going to drive me out, string me up and leave me to die there,” Council said.
The deputies hung Council for a minute in an effort to get him to confess to the robbery.
“They said, ‘Tell me where that money at?’” Council recalled. After he was let down, Council said he was driven back to Wake County Jail, and released the following day.
When Apex Police Chief John Letteney heard about Council’s story in the local press about four years ago, he removed Bagwell’s name from the walk outside the police station, according to WFMY News 2.
Letteney also publicly denounced Bagwell and apologized to Council.
“I wanted Lynn to know that as long as I humbly hold this office, there can not, and will not act like this from our department. This department has come a long way from back then, but we all still have a long way to go,” Baker said.
Since his story made the local news a few years back, Baker has since received numerous honors from Sheriff Gerald, including the key to the Wake County jail
Hear more from Council about the lynching and the aftermath of the incident via the YouTube clip above.