Families of Emanuel AME Church Shooting victims suing federal government

Some of the victims’ families of the Emanuel AME Church Shooting are filing multiple lawsuits against the federal government. The wrongful death lawsuits are directed toward the FBI for the way Dylann Roof was able to purchase a gun. According to the lawsuit, Dylann Roof was arrested for controlled substance possession in late February 2015 and although the charge was a misdemeanor, it was entered into arrest records as a felony charge. The lawsuit explains it is unlawful to sell a firearm to a person if there is reason to believe they are a user of controlled substances, or is under indictment for a felony charge.

According to a statement last July from the FBI, Roof never should have been able to purchase the gun, but confusion in researching the rap sheet means the background check lasted more than three days. If a background check is not returned within three days, the gun dealer can legally sell the gun. Because of this, attorneys representing the victims’ families have filed more than a dozen lawsuits against the federal government saying, “if the gun sale was denied as required, it would have prevented foreseeable harm to those people affected by Dylann Roof’s use of the obtained handgun”, and breached it’s duty to the victims and their families “by acting in a negligent, careless, grossly negligent and reckless manner in failing to properly create, maintain, index and manage databases used for background checks.”

Andy Savage, one of the attorneys representing the victims’ families said in a statement, “The victims and families hope that by bringing these action they can shine a very bright light on these shortcomings and prevent other individuals, families, and communities from dealing with unfathomable and preventable loss and injury.”

News 2 spoke on the phone with Sharon Risher, daughter of Emanuel AME Shooting victim Ethel Lance. Risher says people are accusing the families of filing these suits for the money. She says money will help to make life easier, but won’t take away the pain of losing her mother. She says this is about “holding a flawed system accountable”.

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