ST. PAUL, Minn. - Black Lives Matter Minneapolis has apologized on its Facebook page after sharing photos of a man who officials say hanged himself in a city park.
The post had sparked social media speculation that the man in the photo was black and that his hands were tied behind his back. Michael Bringle was white.
On the group's page Tuesday night, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis says it retracted its earlier statements after "more information came out & Mr.Bringle's family came forward." The group says "it became clear that this was an unfortunate incident caused by mental illness."
St. Paul police say a passerby discovered the 50-year-old Bringle hanging from a tree early Tuesday. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police held a news conference Tuesday afternoon to address the rumors.
"Michael is a white male, contrary to what was being expressed on social media," said Sgt. Mike Ernster. "Michael's hands were not tied behind his back, as was reported on social media, also by people who do not have the facts."
At the news conference, Sgt. Ernster urged whoever posted those photos to take them down immediately.
"A lot of people are finding out about Michael's death by looking at social media, which is disgusting," Ernster said.
At the news conference, Bringle's sister, Kelly, spoke out to ask that Bringle be remembered for the great man he was and asked whoever posted the photos to please remove them.
"Respect my brother," she said, "and know it was more than likely mental illness in his life. But he was a good, hard-working man."