Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva holds a news conference followed by an online town hall Monday to address the death of a black man found hanging from a tree in the city of Palmdale.
The body of Robert Fuller was discovered last week at a park near City Hall. The county medical examiner-coroner’s office said the 24-year-old appeared to have died by suicide, prompting an outcry by his family who believed he wasn’t suicidal and community members who called for an independent investigation and autopsy.
On Saturday, hundreds of protesters marched from the park near City Hall to the sheriff’s station. Many carried signs that read, “Justice for Robert Fuller.” Meanwhile, an online petition demanding an investigation collected more than 200,000 signatures.
The city has issued a statement supporting an independent inquiry, and three elected officials — county Supervisor Kathryn Barger, state Sen. Scott Wilk of Santa Clarita and Assemblyman Tom Lackey of Palmdale — urged California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the probe.
Fuller’s death came amid nationwide protests rebuking the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Fuller’s case brought to light the death of a black man who was found hanging from a tree on May 31 in Victorville, a desert city about 45 miles (72 kilometers) east of Palmdale.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said foul play was not suspected in the death of 38-year-old Malcolm Harsch, but his family said they were concerned it will be ruled a suicide to avoid further attention.
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In This Story: George Floyd
George Floyd was an African-American man who died on 25th May 2020 in Powderhorn, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, following police arrest. Video recording by a witness, showing Floyd repeating “Please”, “I can’t breathe”, and “Don’t kill me”, was widely circulated on social media platforms and broadcast by media. The incident led to widespread protests across the United States.