Charleston church massacre victims receive settlement from DOJ

Charleston church massacre victims receive settlement from DOJ
Photo credit: / asiandelight

The Justice Department reached an $88 million settlement on Oct. 28 with victims’ families and survivors of the 2015 church shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C. that left nine people dead and five wounded. The families had accused the federal agency of failing to prevent convicted shooter, Dylann Roof, from buying a gun.

The families of victims who were killed, as well as the five survivors, filed civil cases against the FBI over accusations the agency was negligent in failing to prohibit the sale of the firearm used by Dylann Roof. The lawsuit claimed that the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Checks System failed to discover that Roof was a person prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm, which allowed him to buy the handgun he used on his killing spree. The settlements range from $6 million to $7.5 million for people who were killed, and $5 million for survivors, according to a statement from the Justice Department.

In December 2016, a jury found Roof guilty of 33 federal charges for the mass shooting at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The same jury sentenced him to death in January 2017 and Roof was the first person in the U.S. sentenced to death for a federal hate crime. Roof was 21 at the time he committed the heinous murders. The racist White supremacist’s murder conviction and death sentence were upheld by a U.S. appeals court in August also.

“The mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church was a horrific hate crime that caused immeasurable suffering for the families of the victims and the survivors. Since the day of the shooting, the Justice Department has sought to bring justice to the community, first by a successful hate crime prosecution and today by settling civil claims,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in the statement.

The victims who lost their lives in the racial attack were:

The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41; Cynthia Graham Hurd, 54; Susie J. Jackson, 87; DePayne Vontrease Middleton-Doctor, 49; Tywanza Kibwe Diop Sanders, 26; the Rev. Daniel Lee Simmons Sr., 74; the Rev. Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45; Ethel Lee Lance, 70; and Myra Singleton Quarles Thompson, 59.

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