$88M settlement reached between Charleston church massacre victims, families and government

The families of the victims and survivors of the 2015 Charleston church massacre have reached an $88 million settlement with the Justice Department.

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The settlement is the largest individual civil rights settlement in the country’s history, WSOC reported.

The families of those killed during the mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, along with those who survived the rampage, sued the Justice Department over the FBI’s faulty background check that allowed the gunman, Dylann Roof, to buy the gun used, The Associated Press reported.

Roof had been arrested months before the shooting on a drug possession charge, but clerical errors allowed him to buy the gun he used at the church, the AP reported.

The FBI had admitted that the drug possession arrest should have been enough to prevent the gun sale.

On June 17, 2015, Roof walked into the Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church, listened to the message they were giving, then started shooting. In the end, nine people were killed.

The settlement will be split among the survivors of the shooting and the families of those killed.

The families of those killed will get $65 million, while the survivors will get $25 million, the AP reported.

The settlement still has to be approved by a judge.

But the money will not heal the wounds left behind on that night.

“No amount of compensation will ever replace my father’s life,” Eliana Pinckney told WSOC. Her father, Sen. Clementa Pinckney, was killed.

She said she will use the settlement to help cement her father’s legacy.

“We cannot bring back those nine victims. We cannot erase the scars that those survivors have,” Attorney Bakari Sellers told WSOC.

Sellers told the AP the total settlement — $88 million — is symbolic as 88 is frequently associated with white supremacy and is said to be the number of rounds Roof took with him to the shooting.

Roof was sentenced in 2017 to death for a federal hate crime, the first person to have that punishment given, the AP reported.

Earlier this year, a federal appeals court upheld the sentence, the AP reported.