Black US man's death, first believed to be lynching, now ruled suicide

WION Web Team California, United States of America Jul 10, 2020, 08.11 AM(IST)

Robert Fuller death Photograph:( AFP )

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Robert Fuller, a 24-year-old found with a rope around his neck near Palmdale city hall, took his life after battling mental illness and suicidal thoughts since 2017, it has been found.

The death of a black man found hanging from a tree in California -- first believed to be a case of lynching during last month's anti-racism protests -- was ruled suicide on Thursday.

Robert Fuller, a 24-year-old found with a rope around his neck near Palmdale city hall, took his life after battling mental illness and suicidal thoughts since 2017, it has been found.

There was no evidence of trauma that could suggest others were involved, according to the coroner's report.

"This, coupled with the existence of evidence of prior suicidal ideations and a history of mental health issues supports the conclusion of suicide," it said.

Fuller's death hit the headlines as protests over police brutality and racism roiled American cities following the May 25 death of George Floyd while in custody in Minneapolis.

Fuller's death in Palmdale, around an hour's drive northeast of Los Angeles, was initially and swiftly ruled suicide, before officials backtracked and ordered an investigation.

Also read | Black man found hanging from a tree in Los Angeles county; community seeks answers

Thousands gathered the weekend after his death to demand a thorough probe, with Fuller's family casting doubt on the possibility he would take his own life.

On May 31, another black man was found hanging from a tree in Victorville, just 50 miles east of Palmdale. This was also found to be suicide.