Community and family members are seeking answers after a man was found hanging from a tree near Palmdale City Hall in California on Wednesday.
According to The Courier Daily, the man has been identified as Robert Fuller by his family.
The 20-year-old was found on June 10 with a rope around the neck hanging from a tree in Poncitlan Square, according to Lt. Brandon Dean of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau Department.
Dean said that Fuller’s death appears to be a suicide, but the actual reason will be confirmed once a full autopsy report is made available. The report is expected to feature Fuller’s past mental health history.
Despite suggestions that Fuller’s death was a suicide, many people are not convinced. The hashtag #JusticeForRobertFuller started trending on Twitter as folks called for a deeper investigation into Fuller’s death.
“A black man was found hung by a tree near city hall in my hometown of Palmdale, CA,” wrote one Twitter user. “Officials were so quick to rule his death as a suicide…why the FUCK would he kill himself in front of city hall!? we need answers/ footage QUICK.”
Authorities not only linked Fuller’s death to suicide, but they also suggested the coronavirus pandemic might have something to do with his death.
In a Thursday statement, the Palmdale City authorities said, “sincere condolences and sympathies to the family and friends of the individual who tragically passed away in Palmdale…Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
They added, “Sadly, it is not the first such incident since the COVID-19 pandemic began.”
Many people pointed out that Fuller’s suicide comes at a time of heightened racial tension as people have been protesting police and anti-Black violence. Since the death of people like George Floyd, Breaonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tony McDade, activists have been making demands ranging from charging police with murder to defunding the police altogether. California is already a state that has localities conceding to demands, considering Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti agreed that he would cut $250 million from LAPD’s budget and reinvest that money “in jobs, in health, in education and in healing,” according to the Independent.
Anti-Black sentiments are also being called out in various industries from the restaurant world to the entertainment industry. Just this week #BoycottStarbucks started trending once again after they banned their employees from wearing ‘Black Lives Matter’ gear.
It’s only right that the people of Palmdale want answers.
Someone who says they were family to Fuller, Diamond Alexander, wrote on Facebook, “Words can’t describe how much my family is hurting right now. Today we just got word that Robert body was found hanging in a tree out in Palmdale. It’s still under investigation. If anyone seen anything please come forward. Brother you will forever be in our heart. RIP.”
Alexander also started a GoFundMe for Fuller, writing, “Words can’t describe how my family is feeling. We grew up there in the Antelope Valley, we have so many friends, families that loved Robert. Please help with whatever you can. We greatly appreciate everyone.”
You can donate to the page here.