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Letters to the Editor: The state needs to launch its own investigation of Robert Fuller’s death

Robert Fuller memorial
Deonte Kemp, 27, of Los Angeles lights candles under a tree where mourners gather next to Palmdale City Hall, where Robert Fuller was found dead.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The L.A. Times’ article about the hanging deaths of two young African American men and the deep distrust among Antelope Valley Black residents in law enforcement brought tears to the eyes of this reader.

The finding of systemic racism, just five years ago, on the part of Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies against Black and Latino citizens in Lancaster and Palmdale leaves me disgusted with the facile initial assumption by Medical Examiner-Coroner Dr. Jonathan Lucas that there was “lack of any evidence” of foul play.

It is the sacred duty of California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra immediately to undertake an independent investigation rather than merely review the sheriff department’s work. As a former practicing attorney in California, I can tell you that the U.S. Constitution requires it.

The massive protests by Americans of all races should inform Becerra of the necessity for an objective investigation.

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John Geer, Indio

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To the editor: The L.A. Times’ choice to employ a euphemism when discussing the hanging death of Robert Fuller in Palmdale was disappointing. Your articles states that authorities were trying to determine whether Fuller died by suicide or was the victim of “foul play.”

A Black person who was hanged by others is the victim of murder in the most racist, heinous way. Such a crime is not an issue of “systemic racism”; rather, it is an overt message of terrorism and oppression sent to the Black community by racist perpetrators.

The deaths of Fuller and Malcolm Harsch may have been suicides and not murders, but The Times should not shy away from accurately describing the possibilities. If either man was killed because he was hanged by others, the events were racist murders, not merely instances of “foul play.”

That authorities have also used “foul play” in discussing these deaths provides no cover for The Times. In fact, it heightens the need for The Times to accurately label the events.

Ray McKown, Torrance

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To the editor: When questioned about the hanging death of Fuller, Palmdale City Manager J.J. Murphy said we should “stop talking about lynchings.” He failed to mention the pain and suffering of this heartbreaking death, and he made no mention of the well-known fact that white supremacists have a stronghold in his community.

We have nibbled around the edges of racism far too long, and we do not need eight minutes and 46 seconds to find where the knee rests.

Roger O. Blais, North Hills


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