The body of Robert Fuller, 24, was found hanging from a tree in Poncitlán Square in Palmdale, California on Wednesday. At first, the Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner’s office claimed that Fuller died by suicide. However, his family and activists refuted the notion, demanding a proper homicide investigation, and an independent autopsy.
Now, according to the Los Angeles Times, elected officials have joined the calls for justice, as well as an independent investigation into Fuller’s death.
L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, along with state Sen. Scott Wilk and Assemblyman Tom Lackey, have all raised their voices on Fuller’s behalf.
“The attorney general, as the lead attorney and law enforcement official for the state of California, will lend additional expertise and oversight into this important investigation and provide the community with the answers they deserve,” Barger said in her quest to have California Attorney General Xavier Beccera look into the incident.
Over the weekend, almost 2,000 people gathered in Palmdale demanding justice for Fuller, who was described as a peacemaker who mostly stayed to himself and loved music, anime and video games.
“To be here, staring at this tree, it don’t make no sense,” Fuller’s sister, Diamond Alexander said, according to the Times. “My brother was not suicidal. My brother was a survivor.”
“This is really crazy to all of us,” she insisted. “We want to find out the truth of what really happened. Everything that they’ve been telling us has not been right.”
More than 240,000 people have signed a Change.org petition demanding a “thorough and transparent investigation.”
As the Times notes, Fuller’s death comes after another Black man, 38-year-old Malcolm Harsch, was found hanging from a tree last month in Victorville, 50 miles away from Palmdale.
Harsch’s family is also not convinced that the death was a suicide.
“The explanation of suicide does not seem plausible,” Harsch’s family told the Victor Valley News in a statement. “There are many ways to die but considering the current racial tension, a Black man hanging himself from a tree definitely doesn’t sit well with us right now.”
Currently, Harsch’s death is still under investigation, but San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Jodi Miller told the Desert Sun that there was no evidence of foul play.