Newberry College holds forum on Charleston church shootings

Mother Emanuel AME Church
Mother Emanuel AME Church(Live 5)
Published: Apr. 3, 2022 at 12:39 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 3, 2022 at 12:45 PM EDT
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NEWBERRY, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Newberry College is holding a forum on the aftermath of the 2015 racist massacre at a Charleston church from the perspective of the church and the officers who responded and investigated the shooting.

Five Charleston police officers will be at the college for the event at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The officers will talk about what they experienced in the hours and days after the incident, in which a gunman killed nine Black people at the conclusion of a Wednesday night Bible Study at Mother Emanuel AME church on June 17, 2015.


The church’s lead pastor, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, was killed in the massacre along with eight of the church’s parishioners: Cynthia Graham Hurd, Susie Jackson, Ethel Lance, the Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, Tywanza Sanders, the Rev. Daniel Simmons, the Rev. Sharonda Singleton, and Myra Thompson.

Nine parishioners of Mother Emanuel AME Church were killed after a Bible study on June 17,...
Nine parishioners of Mother Emanuel AME Church were killed after a Bible study on June 17, 2015. (Source: Family/Facebook)

A pastor of a local AME church will talk about what the shootings did to the denomination as a whole.

Attorneys for convicted church shooter Dylann Roof asked the U.S. Supreme Court in early March to decide how to handle disagreements over mental illness-related evidence between capital defendants and their attorneys.

Roof fired his legal team and represented himself at sentencing, purportedly to keep jurors from hearing evidence about his mental health. His attorneys say other courts would have allowed Roof to keep his attorneys while ensuring they didn’t present evidence he didn’t want.

A three-judge panel with the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the death sentence for Roof in August.

Families of nine victims killed in a racist attack at a Black South Carolina church celebrated a record settlement with the Justice Department in October over a faulty background check that allowed Dylann Roof to purchase the gun he used in the 2015 massacre.

Weeks before the church shooting, Roof was arrested by Columbia Police on the drug possession charge. But a series of clerical errors and missteps allowed Roof to buy the handgun he later used in the killings. Those missteps and failures came to be nicknamed “the Charleston loophole.”

The $88 million settlement represented one of the largest Civil Rights settlements in the nation’s history, attorneys said. Of that $88 million, $25 million will go to the survivors of the shooting while the remaining $63 million will be split among the families of the nine victims who died in the shooting.

Attorney Bakari Sellers said the “88″ figure was purposeful. It’s a number typically associated with white supremacy. He said Roof had the number ‘88′ on his shoes and that was also the number of bullets Roof said he had taken with him to the attack.

Copyright 2022 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.