Robert Fuller: Suspended death of black man ruled suicide


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Robert Fuller’s family was skeptical of the initial suicide finding

A black man who was found hanging from a tree in a California park died of suicide, authorities said.

Robert Fuller, 24, had a history of mental illness and killed himself June 10 in Palmdale, Los Angeles Sheriff Commander Chris Marks said.

A post mortem examination had yielded a first suicide finding, but this was rejected by the Fuller family, prompting further investigation.

The case came amid American protests over the death of George Floyd.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Fuller had attended a Black Lives Matter protest on the eve of his death.

Mr. Fuller’s death in the deserted city of Palmdale, some 60 miles (96 km) north of Los Angeles, rocked the black community in the Antelope Valley.

Some said they feared it might have been a lynching, a mafia murder without due process or the rule of law. In the United States, thousands of African Americans were lynched by white crowds, often hung or tortured, in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Amid widespread dissatisfaction over the initial conclusion of the suicide by local authorities, it was announced last month that the FBI’s civil rights division would review the investigation into the deaths of Mr. Fuller and another black man in similar circumstances in southern California.

Fuller’s family described him as someone who enjoyed music and video games, and insisted that he would not have committed suicide.

But Commander Marks told a press conference that Fuller had gone to a California hospital in February 2019, and said he was hearing voices telling him to commit suicide.

He also said Fuller was treated at a Nevada hospital last November for suicidal ideation.

The investigation found no evidence of foul play, he said.

The other case that attracted widespread attention was that of Malcolm Harsch, 37, who was found hanging from a tree at a homeless camp in Victorville on May 31.

Local authorities said his death was likely a suicide.

If you want to talk to someone about the issues raised in this article, you can call the USA. National Lifeline for Suicide Prevention in 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

You can call the UK Samaritans Helpline at 116 123 or visit samaritans.org.