August 5, 2021

Protesters demand investigation after young Black man is found hanging from tree in Palmdale

The discovery of a 24-year-old Black man hanging from a tree near Palmdale City Hall this week has sparked alarm in the Antelope Valley as investigators try to determine whether his death was caused by suicide or if foul play was involved.

A passerby spotted the man’s body at 3:39 a.m. Wednesday in the 38300 block of 9th Street East, according to authorities. Emergency personnel responded and determined that the man — identified as Robert Fuller — was dead, authorities said.

Lt. Kelly Yagerlener of the Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner’s office said the death was initially reported as an apparent suicide, but a decision on the cause of death is deferred pending an investigation. A full autopsy is planned.

“Investigators have been in contact with Mr. Fuller’s family and are continuing their investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Fuller’s death,” Palmdale officials wrote in a statement.

Fuller’s death has generated intense attention, especially after weeks of protests over the police killing of George Floyd. Kim Kardashian West tweeted about the case, urging people to sign a petition demanding a full investigation.

Community members confronted city officials at a news briefing Friday, questioning why they were quick to label Fuller’s death a suicide and asking whether he might have been the victim of homicide.

The residents asked whether there were cameras around the park. The city said there were no outdoor cameras, and video recorders on a nearby traffic signal could not have captured what happened.

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