9 families killed in SC church agree to settle with the feds over gun

The Justice Department has reached an agreement with the families of the nine victims in a racist attack on a South Carolina church that was Black. This settlement covers a flawed background check that Dylann Roof used to buy the gun he used during the 2015 massacre.

9 families killed in SC church agree to settle with the feds over gun

Bakari Sellers, an attorney who helped broker this agreement, said that the $88 million deal included $63 million for families of the slain, and $25 million for survivors.

Sellers claimed that the "88" number was intentional. It is a number that is often associated with white supremacy, and Roof claimed that he took 88 bullets with him to the attack.

Sellers stated to AP that they had given a big 'F' to racism and white supremacy. "We're doing this by building wealth generationally in these Black communities, starting from one of most horrendous race crimes in America."

According to the Justice Department settlements for families of the deceased range from $6 million up to $7.5 Million per claimant. The settlements for survivors are $5 million per claimant.

Roof was taken into custody by Columbia, South Carolina police for drug possession. This happened months before the shooting at the church on June 17, 2015. Roof was able to purchase the gun he used in the massacre because of clerical errors.

According to court documents, the errors included incorrectly listing the sheriff’s office as the agent of arrest in the drug case. A National Instant Criminal Background Check System examiner found information about the arrest, but she needed more information to deny the sale. She sent a fax request to the sheriff's department. The Columbia police was contacted by the sheriff's office, who replied that they didn't have the report.

The system's operating procedures required that the examiner be directed to a federal list of law enforcement agencies. However, Columbia police didn't appear on this list. The examiner stopped at the West Columbia Police Department, but was told that it was not the right agency.

Roof returned to West Columbia to pick up his handgun after a three-day wait.

A judge dismissed the lawsuit, stating that the examiner had followed the procedures. However, he also criticized the federal government for making "abysmally poor policies" regarding how it manages the national firearm background check database. A federal appeals court reinstated the suit.

Attorney General Merrick Garland stated that the mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church was a hate crime that caused immense suffering for the victims' families and their survivors. "The Justice Department has been trying to bring justice to the community since the day of the shooting. First, by prosecuting hate crimes successfully and then by settling civil claims."

Roof was the first American to be sentenced to death in 2017 for a federal hate crime. Roof is believed to have opened fire at the Bible study held at the church and rained down many bullets on the people present. Roof was 21 years old at the time.

The Rev. was among the slain. Clementa Pinckney was a pastor at the AME Emanuel Church and a state senator. All of them shared deep devotion and forgiveness for Mother Emanuel Church, which they all shared. Roof was only days away from appearing in court.

Roof was arrested for drug possession and should not have been allowed to buy a gun, according to the FBI.

Pinckney's eldest child, Pinckney, spoke with AP Washington before the news conference. She recalled the shooting that night and stated that she was determined to preserve her father's legacy. He died when Pinckney was 11.

Eliana Pinckney (17) told AP that she did everything possible to preserve his memory and carry on his legacy through my life.

"Just to ensure that the memories I have with him are shared with others, so that other people can be inspired by the lives he lived and the lives he would continue living if they were still here."

Sellers stated that the deal was made earlier in the month but is still subject to approval by a judge.

Sellers stated that all nine families involved in the closure are so strong. "Officially, we wanted more. But this is just, justice, and these families can finally say they got it."

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