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Emanuel A. M. E. Church Shootings

  • Parkland. Uvalde. Columbine. Sandy Hook. A supermarket in Buffalo. A church in South Carolina. A synagogue in Pittsburgh. When violence comes to a public place, as it does all too often in our era, a delicate question lingers afterward: What should be done with the buildings where blood was shed?
  • Charleston County religious leaders met with officials from the Department of Homeland Security earlier this month as the feds warn of an increased risk of attacks on houses of worship.
  • Two survivors of a 2015 racist massacre that killed nine of their friends at a Charleston church say South Carolina's lack of a hate crimes law is an insult to what they suffered through at their Bible study. Polly Sheppard and Felicia Sanders told a group of state senators Tuesday it sends a message that the state isn't serious about stopping the kind of wickedness that led to the massacre at Emanuel AME. South Carolina and Wyoming are the only U.S. states without a law giving stiffer penalties for crimes motivated by someone's race, sexual orientation, religion or disability. The House and a Senate subcommittee have approved the bill, which died on the Senate floor last year.
  • A bill that would make South Carolina the 49th state with a hate crime law is making its way through the House. A subcommittee Thursday unanimously advanced Rep. Wendell Gilliard's proposal. The pursuit of enhanced state penalties for hate crimes got renewed attention after an avowed white supremacist murdered members of the oldest African Methodist Episcopal church in the U.S. South in 2015. But no such proposal has become law in the years since. The bill allows harsher punishments for perpetrators of violent crimes motivated by their perception of someone's race, color, religion, sex, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, or physical or mental disability.
  • After mass shootings, the loss felt by marginalized groups already facing discrimination is compounded. Some public health experts say the risk for mental health issues is greater for the groups — communities of color and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community among them. The trauma is especially acute when the shootings happen at schools, churches, clubs or other places that previously served as pillars of those communities. Some have rebuilt their spaces, some are still working to rebuild, and some never will reopen.
  • The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from Dylann Roof, who challenged his death sentence and conviction in the 2015 racist slayings of nine members of a Black South Carolina congregation. Roof had asked the court to decide how to handle disputes over mental illness-related evidence between capital defendants and their attorneys. The justices did not comment Tuesday in turning away the appeal. Roof fired his attorneys and represented himself during the sentencing phase of his capital trial, part of his effort to block evidence potentially portraying him as mentally ill. Roof shot participants at a Bible study session at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
  • Attorneys for the U.S. Justice Department say the nation's highest court shouldn't review the case of convicted church shooter Dylann Roof. Federal prosecutors made that argument in an expected filing with the U.S. Supreme Court. Roof was sentenced to death after his conviction in the 2015 racist slayings of nine members of a Black South Carolina congregation. His lawyers have appealed his case to the high court, asking justices to decide how to handle disputes over mental illness-related evidence between capital defendants and their attorneys. Government attorneys say Roof wasn't entitled to "control his counsel's strategy" for winning his case "by dictating the mitigation evidence that they could introduce."
  • Chris Singleton's mother was murdered at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015. He's since made it his mission to root out racism one person at a time.
  • Attorneys for convicted church shooter Dylann Roof have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decide how to handle disagreements over mental illness-related evidence between capital defendants and their attorneys. Authorities have said Roof opened fire during a 2015 Bible study at Mother Emanuel AME Church, killing nine members of the Black South Carolina congregation. 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. Last year, an appellate panel unanimously upheld Roof's conviction and death sentence. The government's response is due by the end of the month.
  • One of the survivors of a racist massacre at an African American church in South Carolina has started giving out scholarships from her foundation to students who want to provide health care to prisoners. Polly Daniels Sheppard set aside money from speaking engagements and other events to create the Polly Sheppard Foundation. Sheppard worked as a nurse for 14 years at the Charleston County jail and says she was bothered that there was always a lack of health workers with compassion for the people they might be helping behind bars. Sheppard was one of five people inside Emanuel AME church to survive in June 2015 when a racist killed nine members of the church.