Between the death of the first and second man, a racist leaflet was distributed in Dover along Division street downtown. The flyer contained vulgar racist language and the image of a black man hanging from a tree by his neck as well as a swastika.
One a street wise barber . One a star athlete 19 years old. From Edison New Jersey and a freshman at Wesley College. The only thing besides their manner of passing they had in common was skin tone.
On October 17 2010 in an alley in Dover a black man was seen hanging from a tree by a passing motorist.
This is what made it to the Newspaper:
"But to the shock and sadness of many in New Jersey and Delaware, Conley, who recently turned 19, died suddenly on the morning of Oct. 17. His death was ruled a suicide, according to Carl Kanefsky, a spokesman for the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services. According to Dover police, Conley’s body was found by a passerby in an alleyway near campus around 7:30 a.m."
"... died suddenly ...." ? There's a Win The Future type of moment there.
The Police Press Release:
|Student Commits Suicide|
Complaint Number: 50-10-26769
Date of Incident: 10/17/10
This News Release was entered 10/20/10 by Captain, Tim Stump
Location of Incident:
200 Block N. Governors Ave
This is one account from the Campus paper on the tragedy.
Friends and family have expressed doubt over the finding of suicide.
On May 12, 2012 Johnny Clark died at Silver Lake Park in Dover. A black man, the official Dover Police Department report indicated that he had committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree. For many reasons his family didn't buy the official story.
There was no press release from the police, no local media coverage. Until very recently the only mention of Clark's death online was at http://www.bhbanco.org/2012/09/vp-biden-and-his-son.html.
That website post was challenged by WGMD News in the Morning host Bill Colley who subsequently interviewed Mr. Alston of Dover on air. Then the Antonio Prado of the Dover Post printed this report of a Dover Town Council meeting: http://www.doverpost.com/article/20121022/NEWS/121029930
Perhaps worth noting that Mr. Alston had requested in writing through channels the opportunity to speak on the agenda for the City Council meeting. The Council seemed to do everything possible to keep our statements off the official record. Kudos to Mr. Prado for printing the article.
Jump to September 21 2012. At approximately 6:00 a.m. Dover Police Responded to a residence near the same area of Silver Lake park where Clark died in response to the resident's call concerning a man in her yard. Dover P.D. Chief reports that the resident reported a man acting irrationally.
Henry J. Fordham had visible injuries that warranted transporting him to Kent General Hospital. He claimed to have been abducted by two white males who attempted to lynch him. Police dismissed his story after he reportedly gave two demonstrably false accounts concerning how he came to be in the custody of his alleged abductors.
This picture of Fordham taken on September 21 in the daytime. Mr. Fordham reports that this injury ensued from a knife attack by his assailants in the early morning of 21Sept2012.
Photo by Dr. Jahi Issa.
According to Dr. Issa and local paralegal Eshed Alston this wound is a cut from the outside of Fordham's mouth that goes through to the inside of his mouth.Photo by Dr. Jahi Issa.
Mr. Fordham maintains that this mark was caused by his assailants trying to strangle him.
Photo by Dr. Jahi Issa.
All photos taken on 21 September 2012
On September 27 2012 there was a meeting of the Dover Delaware Human Relations Commission. Henry Fordham, Wanda Clark, and Donald Clark spoke to the commission about what they felt was a murder and an attempted murder.
A family member testified that he had last seen his brother Johnny alive with the same two white males that allegedly abducted and assaulted Fordham. These individuals lived in the neighborhood where Clark and Fordham resided. The family member said he had been in a program with one of the white males.
Video taken at Dover Human Relations Commission Meeting on 27Sep2012
These two suicides defy suicide statistics in a town of less than 40,000 which is only 38% African American within the very small geographical area where these deaths occured. That's quite a coincidence to put it mildly.
Please don't take this blogger's word for that, check suicide statistics for yourself. Non Hispanic black males are generally less likely than whites and Asians to commit suicide. Firearms are the most prevalent method of suicide for this demographic and location. Hanging from a tree in public view in two cases within blocks of each other and occurring in the context of a leaflet campaign between the first and most recent death makes the cases even more suspect.
Factor in friends and family of both victims still in disbelief that their loved ones took their own lives.
That alone should warrant a full review in view of the statistical improbability of two such suicides occurring in the manner suggested in a sick leaflet distributed to neighborhoods along Division St. in Dover after the first death and before the second.
The mayor having full confidence in the police department's actions should welcome an independent review of both cases to vindicate the Dover P.D.. If this is not the case the issue won't be resolved within the City.
Perhaps a committee should be named by the City Council to release as much information as possible to the public while conducting an impartial factual review of both cases.
UPDATE: Henry Fordham and a resident of the house where the 911 call originated both refute the official line that a resident reported "a man acting irrational(sic)" in her yard. According to Mr. Ford and the resident, sounds of an altercation, yelling and screaming awoke the resident who turned on a floodlight. Both parties agree that Mr. Fordham fell to the ground yelling for help. Not at all irrational considering his injuries.
Regardless of Mr. Fordham reportedly being evasive as to how he came to be in the company of his assailants, or his criminal record it would appear that there is probable cause to investigate an assault of Mr. Fordham. There is no case number, no complaint has been taken, and Chief Holsted when asked told me there was no probable cause to investigate an attack on Mr. Fordham.
Probable cause must mean something else in Delaware. In general probable cause is observable facts or circumstances that would convince a reasonable and prudent person that an crime has been committed and in fact committed by a specific person or persons.
Fordham identified two men who lived in his neighborhood, two men who haven't been seen by neighbors since the day Fordham came into contact with Dover P.D. at approximately 0600 hours on 21Sep2012.
Something ain't right.
Original portions copyright 2012 Doug Beatty.