WASHINGTON (WCBD) – Families of the victims of the 2015 massacre at Emanuel AME Church spoke Thursday about a lawsuit filed against the Department of Justice.

Victim families and their attorneys held a news conference outside the DOJ in Washington D.C. where they gave an update on settlement negotiations.

The widow of late SC Sen. Clementa C. Pinckney, who was killed during a Bible study at the historic church the evening of June 17, 2015, was in attendance along with their children and Rev. Anthony Thompson, husband of the late Myra Thompson.

In response to the settlement Eliana Pinckney, the daughter of the late Senator Clementa C. Pinckney said that while she is thankful for the settlement, she is more thankful for the acknowledgment that her father’s life mattered.  

My sister and I are going to go home realizing that the government didn’t sit in silence. That they paid attention, and that they valued my father’s life and they value the lives of the eight other people who died., and that my father is not the only one. This is a step in the right direction for the government to continue acknowledging the African Americans who are losing their lives on a daily basis. This is the start to change. 

Eliana Pinckney, daughter of the late Senator Clementa C. Pinckney

Attorney Bakari Sellers, SC State Sen. Gerald Malloy, SC State Sen. Ronnie Sabb and Mullins McLeod were in attendance.

The Department of Justice Department has agreed to settle a series of lawsuits filed by the survivors and families of the deadly shooting totaling $88 million.

According to the DOJ, the settlements will resolve claims by 14 plaintiffs in the case.

“Plaintiffs agreed to settle claims alleging that the FBI was negligent when it failed to prohibit the sale of a gun by a licensed firearms dealer to the shooter, a self-proclaimed white supremacist, who wanted to start a “race war” and specifically targeted the 200-year-old historically African-American congregation,” the DOJ said.

For those killed in the shooting, the settlements range from $6 million to $7.5 million per claimant. For the survivors, the settlements are for $5 million per claimant.