California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is being asked to respond to growing calls for an independent investigation into the death of a young black man found hanging from a tree near Palmdale City Hall.
On Saturday, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger formally requested that Becerra conduct an independent investigation into the death of 24-year-old Robert Fuller, who was found hanging outside Palmdale City Hall early Wednesday. In a statement, Barger wrote that Becerra “will lend additional expertise and oversight into this important investigation and provide the community with the answers they deserve.”
“It is my hope that our collective efforts will help to support those struggling and grieving surrounding the circumstances of this tragedy,” Barger wrote in the statement.
Barger’s request comes on the heels of thousands of protesters in Palmdale gathering on Saturday to mourn Fuller’s death, which has roiled the Antelope Valley north of Los Angeles amid investigators reviewing whether his death was a suicide or if foul play was involved. Fuller’s death also comes weeks after protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Although authorities initially suspected that Fuller committed suicide, they walked back that statement and ordered an autopsy.
Lt. Kelly Yagerlener of the Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner’s office said on Friday that a decision on the cause of Fuller’s death has not been determined and that a full autopsy is planned.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Lt. Derrick Ballentine addressed protesters in the courtyard behind Palmdale’s City Hall on Saturday, saying that homicide detectives are still investigating Fuller’s death and that he has no problem with an independent probe. However, Ballentine mentioned that’s not his call.
The LA Times reported that Diamond Alexander, Fuller’s sister, addressed protesters on Saturday as well, saying that “we want to find out the truth on what really happened.”
“Everything they told us is not right,” Alexander said, according to the LA Times. “We just want the truth. My brother was not suicidal. He was a survivor. He was street smart.”