Robert Fuller's death ruled as suicide, Internet insists he was lynched: 'Black men don't hang from trees'
Fuller's body was hanging from a tree in Palmdale, 10 days after another Black man, Malcolm Harsch, was found hanging in Victorville about 50 miles away
The death of Robert Fuller, whose body was found hanging from a tree in Palmdale on the morning of June 10, has been ruled a suicide according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The police investigation revealed that 24-year-old Fuller suffered from mental illness and took his own life early on June 10 in a park near City Hall in Palmdale, a community of about 150,000 people north of Los Angeles.
The determination came after a "thorough" investigation with the California Department of Justice and the FBI, sheriff's officials said at a press conference on July 9. Fuller died 10 days after another Black man, Malcolm Harsch, was found hanging in Victorville, about 50 miles from Palmdale. The deaths aroused suspicions of foul play. Some said they feared it could have been a lynching — a murder by a mob with no due process or rule of law. Across the US, thousands of African Americans were lynched by white mobs, often by hanging or torture, in the 19th and 20th centuries.
During the press conference, Los Angeles sheriff commander Chris Marks said that Fuller had gone to a California hospital in February 2019 and said he was hearing voices telling him to kill himself. He also said that Fuller was treated at a hospital in Nevada last November for suicidal ideation. "The medical examiner issued their final autopsy report and delivered it to the sheriff's department, He deemed this case to be a suicide," Marks said.
When the body was found, deputies found no evidence of foul play and an autopsy conducted the next day resulted in an initial finding of suicide. At the time, Fuller's family was outraged and said he was an upbeat person and wouldn't have taken his own life. They said authorities were too quick to dismiss the possibility of a crime. They hired an attorney who said an independent autopsy would be conducted. The FBI and state attorney general's office pledged to monitor the investigation.
However, dissatisfaction has risen over the local authorities' conclusion of suicide as many took to social media to express their disbelief that Fuller's death was by suicide. One user tweeted, "Robert Fuller didn't kill himself. Black people aren’t hanging themselves from trees. That's called lynching. And it's murder. A hate crime. There’s really no cameras in front of City Hall? Cmon." Another wrote, "So we're just supposed to look at this AND believe the 'authorities' when they tell us that Robert Fuller's death was a suicide? F**k that."
A user shared, "Black men don't commit suicide by hanging from a tree. Robert Fuller was murdered and there will be no peace until there is justice." Another wrote, "I still know and wholeheartedly believe that Robert Fuller did not commit suicide. You saw how the coroner's office lied about George Floyd’s autopsy. Honestly, no one can be trusted."
However, others disputed the claims and accused people of spreading fear. One user tweeted, "Leftists & BLM activists trended Robert Fuller's suicide by hanging and said it was a lynching. This is what mobs do. They spread fear. They don’t care about facts. It’s all for the greater good to them. How many hundreds of thousands or millions will still think he was lynched?"
If you or someone you know needs help, do not hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255.