Courts & Crime

Rumors about black hangings prompt Belleville NAACP to issue statement

The head of the local chapter of NAACP says rumors that black youth have been hanged in Cahokia, Illinois, are unfounded.

The Rev. Johnny Scott, head of the St. Clair County NAACP chapter, said his office has been flooded with calls from anonymous people, saying at least three black youth have been hanged.

Scott said no one has come in to the NAACP office to formally file any complaint about any child being hung or even missing. He said he's afraid the rumors might create some type of unnecessary uproar and polarize the community.

"This is why the Cahokia police chief and I have come together to speak out," Scott said. "The rumors have been unfounded, and we want to make sure that parents know this."

Police Chief Rick Watson also says the rumors are unfounded.

The rumors began after 15-year-old Ronald Wesley was found hanging April 25 from a railroad trestle. Ronald's mother has said she doubts her son would take his own life, but police and the coroner's office say his death was a suicide.

Scott said when he began hearing the rumors, he contacted the FBI and Watson.

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