Today I want us to talk about the hanging death of Robert Fuller. It was just officially ruled a suicide. I've looked at the results. I need us to understand that it can be simultaneously true that we live in a constant state of racial terror AND we have real mental health challenges that we need to discuss. Today, I want to tear down some walls and have an open conversation with you about all of it.
On June 10, 24-year-old Robert Fuller was found hanged from a tree in Palmdale, California.
This morning, the Los Angeles medical examiner and sheriff’s department ruled his death a suicide. Investigators took multiple factors into consideration, including no signs of struggle or bondage of the wrist or ankles. The angle in which the rope was tied indicated it was tied by someone in the tree and that Fuller was not hoisted up.
Fuller had a documented history of mental illness and was hospitalized for suicidal ideation. Investigators also noted linear scars along his left wrist consistent with self-inflicted scars.
Mental health has been stigmatized by both the Black and white community alike, with many white doctors believing Black people simply do not feel depression because it is not in their genes, and Black doctors ruling out depression as a “white thing.” To this day, statistics on Black suicide rates are easily skewed because their suicides are more likely to be misclassified than that of any other racial group.
In today’s episode of The Breakdown, Shaun delves into the issues regarding mental health in the Black community by leading a much-needed open and honest discussion.