Investigations launched into black men found hanging from trees in US
Los Angeles, US, June 15 (efe-epa).- The FBI has opened investigations into at least two cases of black men who have been found hanging dead from trees in recent days in different parts of the United States, local authorities announced Monday.
Robert Fuller, 24, was found hanging from a tree by a rope last week near the city hall in Palmdale, a city of more than 150,000 inhabitants outside Los Angeles.
Authorities originally said his death appeared to be a suicide, but his family and activists have said that this is impossible and his official cause of death has not yet been made public.
On Monday, county sheriff Alex Villanueva promised an “thorough and complete” investigation with the FBI and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
“This death investigation obviously is of great concern to the community, not only of Palmdale, but throughout the nation,” Villanueva said at a press conference. “Robert Fuller was a young man in the prime of his life, and his death obviously is painful for many people.”
“It is in our interest to make sure that we leave no rock unturned,” the sheriff said.
Hundreds of Palmdale residents participated in vigils and protests over the weekend and some have claimed that Fuller’s death was a lynching amid US-wide protests against police brutality towards racial minorities, mostly African Americans.
Fuller’s case has revived that of another recent death of a black man 50 miles away under similar circumstances.
Malcolm Harsch, 38, was found on May 31 hanging by a USB cable from a tree in Victorville, California.
His family and some organizations have also ruled out suicide, as in the case of Fuller.
Two other similar events of black people found hanging in trees, in Houston, Texas, and in Manhattan, New York, have also occurred in recent days, but there is no record so far that the FBI is investigating them.
In these cases, the official cause of their deaths is also unknown, although suicide has not been ruled out.
All four incidents have occurred during the massive wave of protests over the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which has led to several places in the country to reduce funding or reform their police departments.
The protests, which have been going for 20 days, have reached some 650 cities in the 50 states of the country. EFE-EPA