Hanging death of Black man in California ruled a suicide by police after investigation

Hanging death of Black man in California ruled a suicide by police after investigation
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A police investigation ruled the death of a Black man who was found hanging from a tree in California last month a suicide, officials said Thursday. 

Police investigated the death of Robert Fuller, 24, after public pushback upon the initial ruling that his death was a suicide. 

Chris Marks, the department commander of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, said Thursday during a press conference that an investigation found Fuller suffered from mental illness and took his own life early June 10, The Associated Press reported. 


Marks noted three hospitalizations since 2017 where Fuller told doctors he was considering suicide. Marks said the most recent was in November when he was being treated at a hospital in Nevada and “disclosed that he did have a plan to kill himself,” according to the newswire. 

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department investigated an incident in February in which Fuller “allegedly tried to light himself on fire,” Marks reportedly said. 

City officials in Palmdale, Calif., where Fuller was found dead, called for an investigation into Fuller’s death after protesters gathered around City Hall demanding a more thorough probe into Fuller’s death. Fuller’s family had also called for an investigation. 

The young man's death came amid demonstrations protesting against the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who was killed by Minneapolis police on May 25. 

Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Thursday the findings of the investigation and final determination of suicide was shared with Fuller’s family, according to the AP. The sheriff reportedly said the family was invited to attend the news conference but were out of town. 

Jamon Hicks, an attorney for the family, said he would issue a statement or hold a news conference later, the AP reported. 


A week after Fuller’s death, his half-brother Terron Jammal Boone, was fatally shot by police in Rosamond, Calif. Police said Boone was shot after he fired on officers. 

Fuller was found hanged just weeks after another Black man, Malcolm Harsch, was also found hanged in Southern California. Harsch’s family sought further investigation into his death after the public outcry over Fuller’s death. 

Police obtained surveillance footage from a nearby vacant building that “confirmed the absence of foul play” and Harsch’s family accepted the finding of suicide, according to the AP.