US authorities pay millions of dollars to families of victims killed inside a church in a hate crime

The US Department of Justice announced a settlement to pay $88 million in damages to the families of nine black people killed in a South Carolina church in 2015.

Announcing the settlement, US Attorney General Merrick Garland called the church mass shooting a “horrific hate crime that has caused untold suffering to the families of the victims and survivors.”

He added, “Since the day of the shooting, the Ministry of Justice has sought justice for society, first through a successful judicial process for hate crime, and today through settling civil cases.”

The Justice Department said the settlement resolves the claims of the families of nine people killed in the shooting and five others who were inside the church at the time.

She stated that the compensation ranged between 6 million and 7.5 million dollars for the family members of the nine victims, and 5 million dollars for each of the five survivors.

“No amount will make up for my father’s life,” said Eliana Pinckney, the daughter of a priest killed inside the church, but the settlement would allow the family to “make sure his legacy will not pass away.” 

“This is a step in the right direction for the government to continue recognizing the African Americans who lose their lives on a daily basis,” she added. 

Bakari Sellers, the plaintiffs’ attorney, called the decision “one of the largest settlements of a range of civil rights cases in the history of this country.”

The settlement is based on allegations that the FBI was negligent and failed to prevent the sale of a gun by an arms dealer to shooter Dylann Roof, who is legally prohibited from owning a firearm.

Rove, the 27-year-old who prosecutors said shot to ignite a “race war” was sentenced to death after being found guilty of carrying out the massacre at Charleston’s Emmanuel Methodist Church, one of the oldest African-American churches in the southern United States.

The families of the victims and some of the survivors sued the US government for manslaughter and bodily injury.

Source: AFP

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