Sheriff apologizes to man who deputies attempted to lynch in 1952

When Lynn Council was just 19 years old, two Wake County sheriff’s deputies in North Carolina drove him to the woods, placed a plow line around his neck, and hung him in a tree. Miraculously, the man, who refused to admit to a robbery he did not commit, survived.

Now, 67 years later, the sheriff of Wake County is apologizing for his predecessors’ actions. “In a few seconds, Jesus took over,” Council, now 86, said of the crime committed against him during a news conference.

After hanging for a few seconds, the deputies eventually released him, according to The News & Observer. “I didn’t say no more to them,” he said. “They were wrong. They were wrong...Hang me for nothing. Gonna kill me. Yeah, that was rough. But everyone who was involved is gone. Jesus don’t like ugly. He knew I didn’t do it. He knew.”

Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker invited Council to his office to publicly apologize for the crime committed against him and to promise that the past would never repeat itself.

Baker presented Council with a key to the sheriff’s office, ensuring Council that he would always be welcome. He was also gifted a glass case to store the key, with a verse from James 1:12, “Blessed is the man that endureth...”

Baker also removed the photograph of Sheriff Robert Pleasants, who held the office in 1952 when the lynching was attempted, off of the sheriff’s office’s wall of honor.

“I want to apologize to you for what happened to you by a member of this office. I cannot change what they did and its effect on your life. I ask you for your forgiveness,” Baker said.

As Baker placed the former sheriff’s photo away in a box, Council told the surrounding officers, “Y’all are some nice people. Some nice people. Nice, active people. Pretty people.”

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