What Went On: North Carolina Sheriff Apologizes to 86-Year-Old Black Man Whom Deputies Tried to Lynch in 1952; Man Says he Wasn’t Killed Because “Jesus Took Over”

On June 13, 2019, Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker is shown with Lynn Council, 86, who says two deputies hanged him from a tree in 1952. (WTVD)
On June 13, 2019, Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker is shown with Lynn Council, 86, who says two deputies hanged him from a tree in 1952. (WTVD)

In 1952, two deputies in Wake County, North Carolina, hung Lynn Council, an African American man, from a tree when he wouldn’t confess to a robbery, according to ABC Raleigh station WTVD.

On Thursday, the current Wake County sheriff, Gerald Baker, apologized to Council in person and took down a photograph of the man who was the Wake County Sheriff at the time of the attack.

“They took me down to the woods to kill me,” Council, who is now 86, told reporters as the two men sat together. “That’s what they took me down there for, but things didn’t happen that way.”

“Jesus took over,” Council added.

Baker said, “On behalf of the Wake County Sheriff’s Office, I want to apologize to you for what happened to you by members of this office.”

“I cannot change what they did and its effect on your life and this county,” Baker said, “but we’re here to let you know that this office is here to serve and protect each and every person that resides in this county.”

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SOURCE: EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News