Families of Two Black Men Found Hanged Reject Suicide Findings

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[Malcolm Harsch\Robert Fuller]
Harsch's family disagreed with the suicide assessment in a released statement: "He didn't seem to be depressed to anyone who truly knew him."
Photo: YouTube

The California families of two Black men found hanged to death are disputing official claims that their deaths resulted from suicide.

Local, and federal, authorities are now looking into the deaths of Malcolm Harsch, 38, and Robert Fuller, 24. Both were found dead within ten days of one another, 50 miles apart.

Monday, the FBI in a statement 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."

Harsch was found hanging from a tree in Victorville, on May 31. The San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department stated “there were no indications at the scene that suggested foul play.”

Harsch's family disagreed with the suicide assessment in a released statement: "He didn't seem to be depressed to anyone who truly knew him. Everyone who knew our brother was shocked to hear that he allegedly hung himself and don't believe it to be true as well as the people who were there when his body was discovered."

The family also said, "The explanation of suicide does not seem plausible" and they are demanding justice.

"There are many ways to die but considering the current racial tension, a Black man hanging himself from a tree definitely doesn't sit well with us right now. We want justice, not comfortable excuses."

Fuller was found hanging from a tree in Palmdale, on June 10--near City Hall. Some are questioning the plausibility to Fuller hanging himself near City Hall.

"I have doubts about what happened," said Marisela Barajas, who went to the press conference and joined a crowd gathered at the tree where Fuller’s body was found, told the Los Angeles Times. "All alone, in front of the City Hall – it’s more like a statement. Even if it was a suicide, that in itself is kind of a statement."

Fuller's sister, Diamond Alexander, insists her brother wasn't suicidal.

"Robert was a good little brother to us and it’s like everything they [authorities] have been telling us has not been right ... and we just want to know the truth," she said.

Tuesday, the family attorney for Fuller, Jamon R. Hicks, in a statement said, "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? We want complete transparency. To that end, the family should choose the pathologist to conduct the independent autopsy."

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