Local representatives respond to deaths of two men found hanged

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Several Santa Clarita Valley officials have made statements about the deaths of two black men, each of whom was found hanging from a tree, one in Victorville and another in Palmdale. 

Two weeks ago, Malcolm Harsch, 38, was discovered hanged near a Victorville city library. On June 10, about 50 miles away, Robert Fuller was also found hanged near Palmdale City Hall. Authorities have said no evidence has been found of foul play in either case. 

Following several days of protests and requests for independent investigations from the families of the decedents, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the FBI recently announced both cases are being re-examined.

Here’s what local representatives have said: 

“The recent discovery of two bodies hanging from trees brings back horrible memories of our country’s history during this most difficult time. I am encouraged to hear that local authorities, the Office of the Attorney General, the FBI, and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division will fully investigate these instances. I stand ready to assist with the coordination of federal agencies should it be needed. My wife, Rebecca, and I will continue to keep the Harsch and Fuller families in our thoughts and prayers.” – Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita. 

“I made a request which is being honored by the ProTem to have a moment in silence to honor the lives of Robert Fuller and Malcolm Harsch, two African American men who were found (hanged.) We don’t know the resolution of these issues yet. I’ve called for an independent investigation to make sure that the families in our community know exactly what has happened because it’s been so unsettling for all of us, and together we will get through this.” — State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, in a message before entering the Senate Floor on Monday. 

“I respectfully request an independent investigation into the death of Robert Fuller. He was found hanging from a tree at a park near Palmdale City Hal on June 10, 2020, amid America’s most significant civil rights movement this century. In order for the public to maintain trust in our justice system, my Antelope Valley constituency needs your assistance in conducting an independent investigation to determine the cause of death.” — Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, in a Monday letter to Becerra. 

“The attorney general, as the lead attorney and law enforcement official for the state of California, will lend additional expertise and oversight into this important investigation and provide the community with the answers they deserve. It is my hope that our collective efforts will help to support those struggling and grieving surrounding the circumstances of this tragedy.” — Los Angeles County 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger, following her request Saturday to Becerra for an independent investigation.  

Resident Annie Astorga has organized a community vigil in honor of the two men at Central Park in Saugus at 4 p.m. on Saturday. 

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