‘This is racial’: US protesters smell foul after hanging black man from tree
PALMDALE: For Shawna Green, a city in the Mojave Desert, California, and several other residents of Palmdale, there is no question that Robert Fuller’s death was racially motivated.
“In a word, it’s a cover-up,” said the 46-year-old Green, a 10-year-old black man who was found hanging from a tree on June 10.
Authorities initially called Fuller’s death a suicide, but after that his family and civic leaders demanded a full investigation and an independent investigation and autopsy.
The FBI has now also said that it will look into the case, as well as another black man killed on May 31, in Malcolm Hersh, 38, in Victorville – about 50 miles (80 kilometers) east of Palmdale – To determine if both men took their lives or if there was a foul play.
For many, the two deaths became a painful period in American history in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when thousands of African American racists were killed in additional killings.
The notorious white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan was responsible for many of those deaths as they hung black Americans from trees.
There were also two deaths in California as renewed calls for racial justice in the US following the May 25 police killing of another black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis.
Several wiggles and protests for Fuller and Harsh were held in recent days, and on Tuesday more than 200 people regrouped near Palmdale City Hall, where Fuller’s body was found, seeking answers.
At the base of the tree where he died, dozens of candle candles, bouquets and messages hit the ground.
“Stop killing and killing us,” read one sign, while another said: “America’s lucky black people want justice and not vengeance.”
‘It’s a lynching’
Several people interviewed by AFP rejected the idea that Fuller could have taken his own life and said he suspected “lynching” and possible involvement by sympathizers of the Ku Klux Klan.
“Black people didn’t hang themselves,” said 64-year-old D. Johnson.
“We are not going to repeat history,” she said.
Johnson said followers of the Ku Klux Klan have been more vocal in the region since the election of US President Donald Trump, and more Confederate flags have been seen flying in the area.
“They were coming more than ever,” he said, referring to the KKK.
Lawyer Jamon Hicks, representing Fuller’s family, has initially criticized local law enforcement for closing the case early.
“To come to the conclusion that it was a suicide and not a suicide is extremely disturbing, especially the way Mr. Fuller was found hanging from a tree,” Hicks said.
“For African Americans in America, hanging from a tree is a lynching.”
Fuller’s sister Diamond Alexander said he was someone who loved life and was “street smart”.
“My brother was not committing suicide. My brother was a survivor,” he said cautiously over the weekend.
Tommy Anderson, a close friend of Fuller, described him as “the cutest person you know,” and said he would never get out at 3:40 a.m., at which time he was found by a passerby.
A full autopsy was performed on June 12, but officials said they are awaiting toxicology results and looking into Fuller’s medical history before releasing his findings.
Investigators are also conducting a forensic examination on the rope from where it was found hanging and how it was tied.
They are also analyzing Fuller’s phone and any available surveillance video.
Families and residents living in Palmdale, about 62 miles (100 kilometers) north of Los Angeles, are eagerly awaiting the full results of the investigation.
The desert city – primarily known as home to many aerospace engineering companies, including Boeing and Lockheed Martin – is a majority-Hispanic community of about 170,000 with about 12 percent of black residents.
“It’s 2020, targeting African Americans is getting old,” David Tucker, a minister in South Los Angeles, spoke cautiously on Tuesday.
Tucker said, “As a black person, I have a gunshot on my back. I’m scared when I see a police car,” noting that his great-great-grandfather did Martin Luther King Jr. during the Civil Rights Movement Was married to . “With all the murders, I can be next, easily.”