Charleston Church Shooting Lawsuit Ends in $88 Million Settlement for Victims’ Families

Victims’ Family Members Allege Broken Background Check System Allowed Shooter to Purchase Gun

Video Transcript:

An $88 million settlement has been reached with the US Justice Department on behalf of the families of nine people killed in the 2015 shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. I'm Rob Rosenthal, and this is an Ask The Lawyers Legal Brief. This record settlement for individual civil rights cases comes after the families of the victims sued the government for negligence surrounding an FBI background check that should have prevented white supremacist Dylann Roof from being able to buy the gun he used in the massacre. Roof had a prior drug charge on his record that should have kept him from passing the background check and obtaining a gun. The persons killed in this act ranged from 26 to 87 years old. One of the shooting victims was the Reverend Clementa Pinckney, whose widow, Jennifer Pinckney, he was represented in the suit by South Carolina attorney Randy Hood and Senator Gerald Malloy. We asked Attorney Hood about the settlements.

And he says, quote: “The senseless act of gun violence by Dylann Roof changed the fabric of America in a split second. His vile acts perpetrated due solely to his racist beliefs galvanized a community. The Charleston nine victims and their families stood together to fight for justice over six years. After Dylann Roof's heinous acts, the families of the Charleston nine resolved their collective cases with the United States government for $88 million.” He goes on to say, “It is my desire and belief that this semblance of justice will breed hope for a better life for the survivors of this massacre.” The FBI says Roof was able to buy the gun he used in the killings because of a breakdown in the federal background check system. The settlements range from $6 million to $7.5 million per claimant for those killed and $5 million per claimant for survivors.

This has been an Ask the Lawyers Legal Brief.

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