(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Justice said Friday that it would not pursue federal criminal civil rights charges in the death of Otis Byrd, a Mississippi man who was discovered hanging from a tree in March.
The body of Byrd, 54, was found in Port Gibson, Mississippi on March 19. Justice Department investigators, along with state and local officials, conducted an investigation into the circumstances of Byrd’s death in the hopes of determining whether it was the result of homicide.
“Under the applicable federal criminal civil rights statute, prosecutors must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt, that an individual willfully caused bodily injury because of the victim’s actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, gender identity or disability,” the DOJ explains in a statement.
“After a careful and thorough review, a team of experienced federal prosecutors and FBI agents determined that there was no evidence to prove that Byrd’s death was a homicide,” the DOJ added, saying that it had closed its investigation into Byrd’s death.
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