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People outside of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., in July 2015. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Thursday announced an $88 million settlement with the families of victims from the racist 2015 mass shooting at a historically Black church in South Carolina.

Why it matters: Families of the victims alleged that the FBI did not perform a thorough background check on the gunman, Dylan Roof, when he purchased the firearm used during the massacre at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

The families sued the federal government for wrongful death and physical injuries, saying it was partially responsible for the shooting by failing to discover that Roof was prohibited from purchasing a firearm because he was arrested on a drug possession charge just a few months earlier.

Carl Pierce, a Charleston lawyer whose firm represented one of the victims, told Axios the settlement would be divided among 14 plaintiffs, nine of whom were killed and five who survived.

  • The Justice Department said families of those killed in the shooting will receive from $6 million to $7.5 million per claimant, while survivors will receive $5 million per claimant.

What they're saying: “The mass shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church was a horrific hate crime that caused immeasurable suffering for the families of the victims and the survivors,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said.

  • “Since the day of the shooting, the Justice Department has sought to bring justice to the community, first by a successful hate crime prosecution and today by settling civil claims.”

The big picture: Roof, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, was sentenced to nine life sentences, one for each death, and to death for federal hate crime charges because he had purposefully targeted Black victims.

Go deeper: FBI says it undercounted hate crimes in 2020

Go deeper

4 Black men wrongly charged with rape are exonerated after 72 years

Relatives of the Groveland Four gather at the just-unveiled monument in front of the Old Lake County courthouse in Tavares, Fla., in February last year. Photo: Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Four Black men wrongly charged with rape were exonerated Monday, more than 70 after being convicted of what prosecutors now say were baseless charges.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said the case against the men, who all died before it was re-examined by Florida officials, "lacked due process and would not be tried today," the New York Times reports.

Updated 11 hours ago - Technology

From Malcolm X to "Free Britney," new media shapes the justice system

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

True crime documentaries, podcasts and social media campaigns are bringing new attention to real-world legal proceedings — and are often affecting the outcome.

Why it matters: New media platforms can instantly put a national spotlight on cases that have long been forgotten or buried under red tape.

Updated 14 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.