The continued Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality have put many on alert across the nation in the wake of George Floyd's killing. Old incidents and new outrage have highlighted the demonstrations, with police using the very tactics being protested against those in the streets.
Protesters in California have experienced something sinister at the moment, pushing for an investigation into the hanging death of 24-year-old Black man Robert Fuller in Palmdale. Fuller was discovered hanging from a tree near City Hall on June 10, around 3:30 a.m. local time.
In the span of a few days, both Robert Fuller and Malcolm Harsch were found hanging from trees in Southern California cities about 50 miles apart.
There must be full and immediate investigations into their deaths. pic.twitter.com/KsF16dxpaO— African American Policy Forum (@AAPolicyForum) June 13, 2020
Calls for an investigation into the death grew after the medical examiner was quick to label the death a suicide without a full autopsy. Fuller's family has been adamant that suicide was not an option for the 24-year-old.
"He was not suicidal and he had no mental illnesses. We do not want that to be implied," Fuller's cousin Pernisha Theus told CBS Los Angeles. "It's a lynching. We have a lot of questions that we need answers town," another cousin added.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff announced they would continue their investigation into Fuller's death, while Mayor Steve Hofbauer addressed questions surrounding the suicide announcement on Friday.
"That was what the preliminary impression was from the Coroner and the investigators that were out there," Hofbauer said. "The city manager and I have been working the phones to talk with other investigative agencies that may be able to assist us in this process."
While the mayor has promised to determine the exact cause of Fuller's death, another slaying raises more concerns that things aren't as they seem. 50 miles east of Palmdale in Victorville, 38-year-old Malcolm Harsch was discovered hanging in a similar fashion, according to USA Today. The victim's family released a statement claiming they were concerned the investigation was taking too long and regarded the death as suspicious, much like Fuller's family.
"He didn't seem to be depressed to anyone who truly knew him," the family statement read. "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 explanation of suicide does not seem plausible."
Harsch's body was discovered hanged from a tree with "blood on his shirt" without any indication of a struggle. Several celebrities and protesters have supported calls for an investigation into the deaths.