Federal charges against Roof are likely
A federal law enforcement official said Wednesday that Justice Department officials are in agreement that last week’s massacre at an historic black church in Charleston satisfies the definition of a hate crime.
That means that federal charges against suspect Dylann Storm Roof are likely.
The official spoke with The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has said federal authorities are investigating the shooting as a possible hate crime.
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Wednesday, Lynch remarked that hate crimes are “the original domestic terrorism.”
Senate back as soon as Tuesday?
S.C. senators could be back in Columbia as early as Tuesday to take up the governor’s budget vetoes and a bill to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds.
But that only would happen if Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, determines the vetoed items must be addressed before the state’s new budget takes effect July 1, according to an email sent from the Senate clerk. If it is determined the vetoes do not need to be addressed by July 1, senators will return to Columbia July 6.
When they return, senators will consider a Senate bill to move the Confederate flag from the State House grounds to the Confederate Relic Room at the State Museum.
The S.C. House has not announced when it likely would meet to take up budget vetoes and Confederate flag legislation. However, House Speaker Jay Lucas has said representatives could return as early as Tuesday.
Former governors endorse removing flag
Several former governors have announced their support to remove the Confederate flag from the State House grounds.
Former Govs. Fritz Hollings, Dick Riley, David Beasley and Jim Hodges said in a statement they support the efforts of Gov. Nikki Haley and state and federal elected leaders to remove the flag.
“Last week’s tragic events at Mother Emanuel AME Church have reminded us of the important bond we share as South Carolina citizens,” the statement said. “We should fly only the United States and South Carolina Flags on our State House grounds– flags that represent us all.”
Poll: Most U.S. voters oppose flying Confederate flag at capitol
Most voters nationwide don’t think the Confederate flag should be flown at the South Carolina State House, but they differ when it comes to the flag’s meaning.
Twenty-one percent of likely U.S. voters believe the Confederate flag should be flown at South Carolina’s State House, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Sixty percent disagree, while another 18 percent are undecided.
The survey of 1,000 likely voters nationwide was conducted June 22-23. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points.
ETV will broadcast senator’s funeral
South Carolina ETV will provide live coverage of Friday’s funeral of Sen. Clementa Pinckney, pastor of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. The eulogy will be delivered by President Barack Obama.
The broadcast will be at 11 a.m. Friday on ETV World and live streamed at scetv.org. It will be rebroadcast the same evening at 7 p.m. on ETV. The coverage is being provided in cooperation with UNC-TV, which also will broadcast the program in North Carolina.
Documentary examines flag issue
Saturday, the Nickelodeon theater will present a documentary on the Confederate flag created by a local filmmaker.
Tom Hall, also an attorney, recently completed “Compromised,” about the decades-long controversy over the flag in South Carolina. The film examines other memorials, grave markers and symbols on the State House grounds from the Civil War era. Proceeds from the two showings of the film at noon and 12:30 p.m. will be donated to the fund for Emanuel AME church, the site of last week’s shootings of eight members and its pastor.
The Nickelodeon is at 1607 Main St. Details: nickelodeon.org/films/compromised
Council takes steps to ensure calm at funerals
The North Charleston City Council has moved to head off any possible protest at funerals for some of the nine shooting victims at a Charleston church.
The council voted unanimously Wednesday to approve an ordinance prohibiting picketing or protesting at funerals in the area. Mayor Keith Summey says the measure was patterned off a similar ordinance passed by Charleston Tuesday. Summey says two funerals for members of Emanuel AME Church are being held in North Charleston on Thursday.
The mayor says violators will be fined $500 and sentenced to 30 days in jail. He said leaders felt the ordinance would be necessary after learning that members of the Westboro Baptist Church would be in town during the funerals.
Memorial fund to honor victim
Charleston Southern University is establishing a memorial fund to honor a victim of last week’s shootings who is the mother of one of the school’s baseball players.
The school’s statement says it has created the Singleton Memorial Fund in memory of Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, the mother of Chris Singleton.
Chris Singleton is a rising sophomore at Charleston Southern. The fund will be used to meet his educational expenses, and he has said that any remaining funds be applied to the planned CSU baseball enrichment center in memory of his mother.
Bible study resumes at site of shooting
A week after nine of its members were fatally shot, Emanuel AME Church is once again holding Bible study in the room where the deaths happened.
More than 100 church members and visitors packed into Emanuel’s basement Wednesday night, seven days after police said Dylann Roof killed the church’s pastor and eight other members during the weekly gathering.
A table adorned with flowers and a poster covered with expressions of sympathy sat at the head of the room, in front of a raised lectern to be used by the church’s pastor. Armed Charleston police patrolled inside and outside the church, while a string trio played religious hymns in the background.
Interim pastor Norvel Goff was to teach the multiracial crowd about “The Power of Love.” Funerals for the slain members were to begin Thursday, with President Barack Obama speaking at slain pastor Clementa Pinckney’s funeral Friday.
Staff and wire reports