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US judge dismisses Charleston shooting lawsuits, criticizes FBI

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A federal judge has dismissed 16 lawsuits filed by survivors of a 2015 mass shooting at a South Carolina church who sued the government over the failure of an FBI-run background check system to prevent the purchase of the murder weapon.

U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel also criticized what he called “abysmally poor” Federal Bureau of Investigation policies for the system that allowed Dylann Roof buy the gun he used to kill nine people, all African-Americans, at a historic black church in Charleston.

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In his ruling released late Monday, Gergel said that the government had immunity from being sued for its policies, “even really bad policy choices.”

Wrongful death lawsuits filed by survivors and family members of victims of the shooting alleged that at least one of the background check databases maintained by the federal government had information that should have prevented the firearm sale.

Gergel criticized the FBI’s policy to deny background check examiners access to the database, known as N-DEx.
If the examiner assigned to Roof’s purchase request had been able to access N-DEx, he would have seen Roof’s 2015 drug arrest and would have barred him from buying the gun, Gergel wrote in his decision.

The government’s argument in the case that it had to deny background check employees access to N-DEx, as it was restricted to law enforcement agencies, was “simple nonsense,” Gergel wrote.

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The judge suggested the FBI take corrective steps to prevent a similar failure in the future.

An FBI spokeswoman said the agency does not comment on litigation cases.

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Mullins Mcleod, a lawyer representing several of the plaintiffs in the case, was not immediately for comment.

The FBI runs federal background checks for gun dealers in more than 30 states, including South Carolina.

The examiner who conducted Roof’s check did not see a police report in which Roof admitted to unlawful drug possession, which would have barred him from buying the weapon, former FBI director James Comey said following the shooting.

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Reporting by Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico; editing by Bill Tarrant and G Crosse

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news outlets, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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‘He’s crazy’: MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace says Trump’s confused behavior is getting ‘impossible’ to ignore

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MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace argued Friday on "Deadline: White House" that the signs of Trump's frazzled and sometimes disjointed mental state are becoming "impossible" to ignore.

She first pointed to a passage in the New York Times report on his Thursday night rally, which said:

His speech was at times a greatest hits album of favorite lines, replaying the 2016 campaign against Hillary Clinton and bashing the news media, Democrats and America’s allies in Europe. Typically rambling, veering on and off script seemingly at random over an hour and a half, he repeated points he had already made earlier in the evening as if he did not remember already making them.

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Trump’s DOJ tells Supreme Court it is legal to fire transgender workers

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The Trump administration on Friday informed the U.S. Supreme Court it is the opinion of the Dept. of Justice that it is legal under federal law for employers to fire transgender workers merely for being transgender.

The DOJ's brief states Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, does not apply to transgender workers.

In reporting the development Buzzfeed calls it one of the Trump administration's "most agressive steps yet to legalize anti-transgender discrimination."

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GOP leadership tells House Republicans to lie about white supremacist gun massacres – call it ‘violence from the Left’

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House Republican leadership has sent a memo to GOP members of Congress directing them to lie about right wing white supremacist gun massacres, and to call it "violence from the left."

The memo, which The Tampa Bay Times acquired, includes talking points for congressional Republicans to parrot when speaking with reporters or constituents. It instructs them on how to address questions about gun violence, including the domestic terrorism recently perpetrated in El Paso, Texas.

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