Wake County Sheriff apologizes to innocent man who deputies tried to lynch in 1952

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Lynn Council is 86 years old, but he remembers what happened to him in 1952 like it was yesterday.

"They took me down to the woods to kill me. That's what they took me down there for, but things didn't happen that way," Council said at a news conference.

Council said two deputies hanged him from a tree in Wake County after he wouldn't confess to a robbery. He survived to tell the story.

"They were wrong ... both of them," Council said

Wake County Sheriff Gerald Baker apologized Thursday on behalf of the department for the inhumane treatment Council endured so long ago.

"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," Baker said.

Baker offered Council a key to the Wake Sheriff's Office, an open invitation to visit anytime and a promise to never let the past repeat itself.

"Integrity. Accountability. We're going to be transparent and try to be consistent with what we do every day," Baker said.

Baker also went one step further and removed a photograph of Robert Pleasants from the department's wall of honor. Pleasants was the sheriff at the time Council was nearly killed.

"It's just the right thing to do. We're all human beings and we need to make sure we treat each other that way," Baker said.

Council also made sure to let everyone how grateful he is for the Sheriff's apology -- even 67 years later.

Current Apex Police Chief John Letteney also apologized for the incident and removed the name of the department's chief at the time from Apex's Walk of Honor
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