By TERRANCE SMITH, ABC News
(CHARLESTON, S.C.) — On the evening of June 17, 2015, a 21-year-old Dylann Roof entered the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, attended a Bible study and then drew his pistol to open fire, killing nine black churchgoers.
The attack left the community devastated, but Rep. JA Moore, who lost his sister in the shooting, believes it didn’t inspire enough action.
“We have done nothing,” he said.
“After my sister and eight others were killed, we took down a flag,” Moore said in a statement. “But that was it. We have done nothing else to address institutional racism in our society. What happened to George Floyd last month and Rayshard Brooks last week is evidence of that.”
Today, protesters across the country march against the same conditions that contributed to that tragedy five years ago: systemic racism.
Currently, federal authorities are reviewing the investigations into the deaths of two men in California, 24-year-old Robert Fuller and 38-year-old Malcolm Harsch — both who were found dead hanging from trees — to determine if federal laws were violated, the FBI said.
“The FBI, U.S. Attorney’s office for the Central District of California and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division are actively reviewing the investigations into the hanging deaths of two African American men in the cities of Palmdale and Victorville to determine whether there are violations of federal law,” the FBI said in a statement Monday.
The family attorney of Fuller Jamon R. Hicks said in a statement Tuesday that they are seeking an independent investigation and autopsy.
The family and the community are “enraged” that “the Sheriff’s Department immediately declared his death a suicide,” said Hicks. “For African Americans in America, hanging from a tree is a lynching. Why was this cavalierly dismissed as a suicide and not investigated as a murder?”
In 2014, Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man, was shot by a white police officer. His death was mourned by many, but not enough change was made.
Since then, the way Americans view racial injustices across the country, especially when it comes to police brutality, has changed.
A recent ABC News/Ipsos poll showed that 74% of Americans believe the killing of George Floyd is part of a broader problem in the treatment of African Americans by police.
In December 2014, a similar poll showed that 43% of Americans said those instances showed indications of a broader problem, while more than half, 51%, called it an isolated incident.
Roof was sentenced to death on Jan. 10, 2017, nearly two years after the massacre. It was the first time a death penalty verdict was rendered in a federal hate crimes case, the Justice Department said. Roof is now awaiting execution in Indiana.
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