California officials probe 2 separate deaths of African-American men

Authorities in California were investigating two separate deaths by hanging of African-American men as “Black Lives Matter” protests continued to spread across the US.

City and county officials have called for an independent investigation into the death of Robert Fuller, 24, who was found hanging from a tree on June 10 near the city hall of Palmdale, Xinhua news agency quoted the Los Angeles Times as saying in a report on Sunday.

On Sunday, protesters marched from the site of Fuller’s death to the Sheriff’s Department station to demand an investigation.

The Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner’s office initially called the death a suicide.

But Fuller’s family and civic leaders quickly pushed back, insisting that it be investigated as a homicide and demanding an independent probe and autopsy.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger also requested that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra conduct an independent investigation into Fuller’s death, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Fuller is the second African -merican man whose body was found hanging in a tree in Southern California in less than two weeks.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said the investigation into the death of Malcolm Harsch, 38, is ongoing, reported the newspaper.

Harsch’s body was found on May 31 near the Victorville City Library.

The County Sheriff’s Department said on Saturday that foul play was not suspected in the death of Harsch.

But in a statement to a Southern California news outlet, the Victor Valley News, Harsch’s family said they found it hard to accept his death was a suicide, noting that he had recent conversations with his children about seeing them soon and that he did not seem to be depressed to anyone who knew him.

“Two Black men were found hanging from trees in California in the last 2 weeks… Authorities are calling them suicides. What Black man do you know who hangs himself from a tree? These are lynchings. Not ‘modern day lynchings,’ old school ones,” tweeted Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles on Sunday.

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