PALMDALE (CBSLA) – A lawyer in the family of Robert Fuller, a 24-year-old black man hanging from a tree near Palmdale City Hall, said no evidence was found on Friday to support the decision that his death was a suicide.
"I have no evidence that there was a hate crime, there is nothing to suggest threats, there is nothing to suggest … bad play," said Fuller's family lawyer Jamon Hicks.
Fuller's family had an independent autopsy performed after his body was returned to them.
"There were no racist feelings, symbols or anything in the area, so we have no information to suggest that it is a hate crime," added Hicks.
Hicks said he was still working on collecting evidence, including any video that might have captured Fuller's death on June 10 to close the family.
"I want to make it clear that I don't expect (anything) to change dramatically, but with complete thoroughness towards the family, I told them that I will find out every answer that I can find out," said Hicks.
He said Fuller's relatives were unaware of his history of mental health problems prior to his death.
The Los Angeles Sheriff Department reported Thursday that after an investigation, "the medical examiner has released and handed the final autopsy report to the Sheriff Department and has classified the case as suicide."
Investigators said the verdict was based on evidence found locally and Fuller's mental health.
According to LASD Cmdr. Chris Marks, Fuller had bought a rope similar to the one found a month before his death.
"Detectives identified a purchase in a local dollar tree store that was made on May 14, 2020, in which a red rope that matched the rope used for hanging was purchased with the EBT card registered with Mr. Fuller," said Marks .
"Detectives bought a similar rope from the same store and shipped it to the LA County crime lab to compare it to the rope found at the scene."
The case was outraged after some in the community questioned what they saw when the sheriff rushed to call death suicide.
In the early morning hours of June 10, the 24-year-old Fuller was found hanging from a tree in Palmdale.
His death came about two weeks after George Floyd's death in Minneapolis sparked nationwide protests and after another man was found hanging from a tree in Victorville.
Although some family members said Fuller had no mental health problems, the investigators said there was documented evidence that indicated otherwise.
"A documented treatment was documented from a Arizona hospital in January 2017, and Mr. Fuller was diagnosed with hearing hallucinations, and it was reported that Mr. Fuller said he wanted to put a gun on his head," said Marks.
“In February 2019, Mr. Fuller was admitted to a California hospital himself. He reportedly heard voices telling himself to kill himself. In November 2019, Mr. Fuller was treated in a Nevada hospital for suicidal thoughts and depression. He announced that he had a plan for it
then kill you "
Investigators also said there were no surveillance cameras facing the park and no evidence that there was anyone in the area at the time.
During the press conference, Sheriff Alex Villanueva answered questions about the credibility of his department.
"The vast majority of the public trusts the sheriff's department. As you can see, we complete an investigation and then report the results. We don't do it piece by piece or cut corners," he said.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)