Officials Discuss Significance of Symbols in Charleston Shooting

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The NAACP President, Cornell William Brooks expressed words of anger and frustration on Friday about the Charleston shooting.

“It is morally incomprehensible. This was a racial hate crime and must be confronted as such,” said Brooks.

At a news conference about the deadly Charleston church shooting, he pointed out two flags on the jacket Dylann Roof, 21, wore in one of his pictures.

“Calls him to embellish his clothing with the flag of Rhodesia, the flag of the pre-, pre-Nelson Mandela, Apartheid era South Africa,” said Brooks.

UNC Charlotte professor Julia Robinson said those flags might explain what may have led to Wednesday’s shooting.

“Both of those were under the British colonial rule that engaged in segregation and white supremacy,” she said. “The Apartheid South Africa as well as Rhodesia, has been mentioned by the KKK on a number of occasions in different settings as an example of the way the world should operate and work.”

“A lot of people who cannot verbally communicate what they feel often use symbols in order to present what they think and feel,” said Dr. Bilal Ghandour, a psychologist.

Another flag at the center of discussion was the confederate flag at the state capitol in South Carolina. The question remains if it should be taken down.

“It's him. It's not the books. It's not the movies. It's not the flag. It's him,” said South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham.

“As an emblem of hate, as a tool of hate, as an inspiration of hate. That symbol has to come down,” said Brooks.