CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD) – A senior pastor, lawmakers and federal agencies are reacting after the U.S. Department of Justice announced an $88 million settlement with the families of victims and survivors of the 2015 massacre at the Emanuel AME Church.
The settlement was over a faulty background check that allowed the shooter, Dylann Roof, to purchase the gun.
Reverend Eric Manning, senior pastor of Mother Emanuel, released the following statement:
“We must always remember the lives that were taken on June 17, 2015 by a white supremacist. We must
always remember the five survivors who continue to live their lives day after day with strength and
courage sometimes suffering in silence. Today’s settlement marks a step forward for the families of
Emanuel 9, survivors and our community. We are truly grateful for those who never gave up and
continued to fight for families and survivors to obtain justice for their loved ones. We
will continue to work with lawmakers to close the “Charleston” loophole and ensure that South Carolina
has hate crime legislation.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he was “very pleased to learn that the Department of Justice has reached a settlement agreement with the families of the victims of the Mother Emanuel attack.” He went on to say that he had “been very supportive of the families’ rights to seek legal redress over the failure of the NICS program to adequately detect Dylann Roof’s prior infractions.”
Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) said “while the $88 million settlement is welcome news, no amount of money can compensate for the lives lost.” He went on to say “as the nation’s eyes are on South Carolina, I am encouraged by the power of grace and the spirit of unity this community continues to demonstrate as we heal and move forward.” .
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) acknowledged that “no amount of money can ever bring a loved one back,” but said she hopes “this settlement will bring some level of comfort to these beautiful souls of Charleston God bless Mother Emanuel.
State Senator Marlon Kimpson said the settlement was a “great historic achievement in horrific circumstances” and that he “continues to pray for peace and closure for these families.”
State Representative JA Moore, who lost his sister in the massacre, said “financial restitution is not justice. True justice will come when the hatred that drove Dylann Roof to commit this terrible act – which took away my sister – is driven from our society. The Charleston loophole is still open. I will continue to fight to end it.
The FBI Columbia Field Office released a statement stating in part:
“The FBI Columbia Field Office has worked tirelessly with our state and local partners, and community resources to achieve justice for these victims. Today, we still share their grief and hope that the agreements reached will bring some relief to those directly affected.
Attorney General Merrick Garland called the shooting a “horrific hate crime that caused immeasurable suffering to the families of victims and survivors.” He said “since the day of the shooting, the Department of Justice has sought to bring justice to the community, first through a successful hate crime prosecution and today by settling civil lawsuits.”
Editor’s Note: This story is out of date and will be updated.