Here's Why Families of Emanuel AME Victims Say Church 'Continues to Disrespect' Them

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 19: Overview of a prayer vigil at the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, DC on June 19, 2015. The service came in the wake of the shooting deaths of nine people who were shot and killed at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. (Photo by Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Here's Why Families of Emanuel AME Victims Say Church 'Continues to Disrespect' Them

Do you think the donations have been split fairly?

Published May 10, 2016

The families of the nine people killed in the mass shooting inside South Carolia historically Black Emanuel AME church are not happy with the distribution of donations the church has received since the shooting took place last June.

Wife of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the South Carolina state senator and Emanuel AME Church pastor who was killed during the massacre, has not received any of the donation proceeds, according to her attorney. "They've not contacted me at all," her attorney, South Carolina state Sen. Gerald Malloy told the Post and Courier.

The church has reportedly given the families approximately $1.5 million and has kept around $1.8 million, with plans to make repairs, and to create an endowment, a memorial, and scholarships. 

Much of the problem stems from the fact that donations didn't specify where the money was meant to go, so the church has been responsible for allocating the funds. It seems the families of the victims have issues with both the level of transparency around how the money will be divided, and also that much of it will stay with the church.

"It's just sad how the church continues to disrespect the families," the Rev. Sharon Risher, who lost her 70-year-old mother, Ethel Lance, in the shooting, told the Courier. 

Family members of the victims said that while they have received certified letters with checks from the church, the letters never disclosed how much money was going to the victim's family members, and how much was going elsewhere.

This issue was taken to court after Arthur Hurd, the husband of victim Cynthia Graham Hurd, filed a lawsuit seeking an accounting of the donations. Hurd received a check for $50,000, his portion of donations from the church. He told the newspaper that it was much less than he expected. Hurd's suit request was denied.

"I feel like it says, 'Take this and shut up,'" Hurd said.

Written by BET Staff

(Photo: Linda Davidson / The Washington Post via Getty Images)


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