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US reaches $88 m settlement with Black victims of white supremacist

By AFP - Oct 28,2021 - Last updated at Oct 28,2021

In this file photo taken on June 27, 2015, people look on as mourners file into the funeral of Cynthia Hurd, 54, at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church where she was killed along with eight others in a mass shooting at the church in Charleston, South Carolina (AFP photo)

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department announced an $88 million settlement on Thursday with victims of a white supremacist who shot dead nine Black churchgoers in South Carolina in 2015.

The settlement stems from allegations that the FBI was negligent when it failed to prohibit the sale of a gun by a licensed firearms dealer to the shooter, Dylan Roof, the Justice Department said.

Roof, 27, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, is facing the death penalty for the massacre at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston.

"The mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church was a horrific hate crime that caused immeasurable suffering for the families of the victims and the survivors," Attorney General Merrick Garland said, announcing the settlement.

"Since the day of the shooting, the Justice Department has sought to bring justice to the community, first by a successful hate crime prosecution and today by settling civil claims."

The Justice Department said the settlement resolves claims from the families of the nine victims of the shooting and from the five survivors who were inside the church at the time of the shooting.

It said the settlements range from $6 million to $7.5 million for relatives of the nine victims and $5 million each for the five survivors.

The families of the "Emanuel Nine" and the survivors sued the government for wrongful death and physical injuries.

They claimed the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Checks System failed to discover in a timely manner that Roof was prohibited by federal law from possessing a firearm.

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