22-year-old Dylann Roof, accused of killing nine black people at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church, was beaten by an African-American inmate last Thursday morning.
Roof was leaving his cell towards the showers when 25-year-old Dwayne Stafford attacked him. Roof, who is in protective custody, was able to return to his cell after he was treated for minor injuries.
There were no weapons involved, as Stafford only used his fists in the assault. Roof did not press charges against Stafford.
Protecting a murderer
According to Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon Jr., Roof should not have been unprotected, as both guards at the time were not on the unit and Stafford’s cell was not closed correctly. Cannon pointed out that these attacks could become more frequent and that security personnel should remain vigilant at all times.
Dylann Roof murdered nine people during service at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, including state senator Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney. He was arrested the following morning in Shelby, North Carolina. Roof was a confirmed white supremacist and neo-Nazi, who later told authorities that he wanted to start a race war.
Roof is charged with nine murders, three attempted murders and several hate crime charges, which makes him a candidate for the death penalty. Although he has not undergone trial, dozens of parishioners identified him as the shooter after it had occurred.
A legal challenge for Roof’s death penalty was filed last Monday, as his lawyers try to convince the prosecution to not go after the death penalty if he were convicted. Roof would then declare himself guilty and receive a life sentence without parole.
His reasons to perpetrate a massacre
After being arrested, police found Roof’s manifesto, where he stated his reasons for perpetrating the attack.
“I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. … We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the Internet. Well someone has to have the bravery to take it to the real world, and I guess that has to be me,” the manifesto reads.
Roof confessed that he was inspired by the acts of George Zimmerman, who shot and murdered Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teen.
Dylann Roof had bought the gun from a local gun store using birthday money. According to the FBI, he was able to obtain the weapon because the FBI background-check system was not readily available.
A few white supremacist groups jumped on Roof’s defense, and although they distanced themselves from his actions, the admitted that he had “legitimate grievances” against people of color. Other than that, every other organization repudiated the attack alongside Roof’s views and arguments for partaking in such a terrible act of violence.
On June 17, the City of Charleston commemorated the lives of those murdered in the shooting. It held services that day to remember the 9 victims.
The Charleston Shooting is one of the least-recent events in the series of racial violence in the U.S. Aside from the shootings perpetrated by cops, Roof’s case shows an irrational individual who easily gained access to lethal weapons to carry out what he believed was right, taking the life of 9 innocent individuals.