Families in Charleston church massacre reach $88M settlement with DOJ

Families in Charleston church massacre reach $88M settlement with DOJ
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Families in the 2015 Charleston, S.C., church massacre have settled with the Department of Justice (DOJ) for some $88 million over a faulty gun background check that allowed the shooter to buy the firearm he used, the two sides announced Thursday.

The DOJ said in a statement that it settled with the 14 plaintiffs in the case, awarding between $6 million to $7.5 million for each of the nine people killed and $5 million for each survivor. 

The survivors and family members first alleged in 2016 that the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS) failed to prevent the sale of a gun to Dylann Storm Roof, who wasn’t allowed to have a firearm under federal law. 

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“The mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church was a horrific hate crime that caused immeasurable suffering for the families of the victims and the survivors,” Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandGarland orders DOJ to prioritize violence on airplanes Buttigieg has high name recognition, favorability rating in Biden Cabinet: survey DOJ seeks to block merger of major sugar companies MORE said. “Since the day of the shooting, the Justice Department has sought to bring justice to the community, first by a successful hate crime prosecution and today by settling civil claims.” 

Roof said online before the shooting that he was a white supremacist who wanted to start a race war by targeting the historically Black church.

An appeals court in August upheld a conviction to sentence Roof to death for the shooting. 

"His crimes qualify him for the harshest penalty that a just society can impose. We have reached that conclusion not as a product of emotion but through a thorough analytical process, which we have endeavored to detail here,” the three-judge panel said.