A black man’s body was found hanging from a tree last Wednesday in Poncitlán Square in Palmdale, California, which is located about an hour north of Los Angeles. The 24-year-old man’s death was deemed a likely suicide based on preliminary findings, according to BET.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released a statement on its Facebook page:
The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department had initially stated that Robert Fuller had died by suicide, but his family disputes the finding and believe he was lynched and has demanded a full investigation into what happened.
Over the weekend, the City of Palmdale joined in on the family’s call, saying, “We will settle for nothing less than a thorough accounting of this matter.”
Following the death of Mr. Robert Fuller, the City of Palmdale is officially supporting the call for an independent investigation and an independent autopsy of Mr. Fuller.
Read full statement here: https://t.co/bKbKMqHNv3#JusticeForRobertFuller#RobertFuller#RIPRobertFuller
— Palmdale (@PalmdaleCity) June 13, 2020
“The City has already reached out to Mr. Fuller’s family, offering help and support, and will do everything possible to assist Mr. Fuller’s family during this difficult time as a complete vetting of his death is investigated,” the statement said.
Fuller is the second black man found similarly. News outlets in the area had reported that another black man, Malcolm Harsch, was found dead in similar circumstances less than two weeks ago, on May 31.
“Robert was a good little brother to us and it’s like everything they have been telling us has not been right … and we just want to know the truth,” Fuller’s sister Diamond Alexander stated.
Harsch’s family members, like Fuller’s, also doubt he died by suicide. “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 said in a statement. “The explanation of suicide does not seem plausible.”
According to a story in The Los Angeles Times, “Amidst the current racial tension and following the protesting the night prior to his body being discovered we were truly troubled to learn of his passing, particularly of how his body was discovered,” Harsch’s family wrote in a statement. “He was an African American male, whose body was found hanging in a tree in Victorville California!”
“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,” Harsch’s family said. “We want justice not comfortable excuses.”