Federal judge approves $88M settlement for families of Charleston church shooting

A Charleston resident prays at a makeshift memorial on the police barricade near where a gunman opened fire on a prayer meeting killing nine people at historic Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015. The suspect was captured it was announced on June 18, 2015. Photo by Gillian Ellis/UPI

Nov. 18 (UPI) — A federal judge approved an $88 million settlement in the 2015 deadly church shooting in Charleston, S.C.

U.S. District Judge Margaret B. Seymour approved the settlement announced by the U.S. Department of Justice last month, resolving claims against the government concerning the failure of its gun background check system in a virtual conference on Tuesday.

From the settlement, $63 million will go to the families of the victims and $25 million will go to the survivors of the horrific shooting at the historically Black Charleston Mother Emanuel AME Church on July 17, 2015.

The settlement stems from a federal judge ruling that a federal agent failed to follow the FBI’s system for conducting a background check on gunman Dylann Roof under the Brady Act.

Roof was arrested for a felony drug offense in Lexington County, S.C., a few months before he purchased the Glock 41 semi-automatic pistol used to kill nine people on June 17, 2015. An examiner for the FBI’s background check system failed to contact the arresting agency for an incident report, which would have blocked him from purchasing the gun from Shooter’s Choice in West Columbia, S.C.

In announcing the settlement last month, Attorney Bakari Sellers with the Strom Law Firm called it one of the largest civil rights settlements in the nation’s history.


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