Families of the Charleston Church Massacre victims have agreed to a settlement with the Justice Department.
In 2015, the Mother Emanuel AME Church was rocked by a shooting. On June 17, 2015, Dylann Roof entered the church and fired his pistol into a bible study group, killing nine people. Roof would later be apprehended, and after a lengthy trial was sentenced to death in 2017, a judge recently upheld the verdict.
Roof was a self-proclaimed white supremacist and believed in the establishment of an all-white nation. Several of his social media accounts show flags related to apartheid, white nationalist flags, and dozens of racist and sexist comments.
The families of the nine people killed by Roof and the five survivors who were inside the church sued the government for their failure to prevent the shooting. This is because, during an FBI investigation, they found that Roof was arrested on a narcotics charge, which should have prevented him from purchasing a firearm. However, the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Checks System failed to see that Roof was prohibited from owning a gun, which allowed him to purchase the gun used in the massacre.
After years of court battles, the families agreed to settle for a $88 million settlement from the Justice Department. The settlements range from $6 million to $7.5 million per claimant for those killed at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and $5 million per claimant for survivors, according to the Justice Department. It is still waiting for final approval from a judge.
The widow of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Jennifer Clementa, thanked those who helped support them during the ordeal, "Even though Clementa is not with us here physically, I know spiritually he is with us, and I know that he's smiling down on us right now," Jennifer Clementa,