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FBI probes letters mentioning racial violence in Charleston during two high-profile trials

CHARLESTON, S.C. - As two high-profile trials that have stoked racial tensions in Charleston begin to unfold, officials are examining nine letters referencing racial violence.

The letters were received at different times in October by several hotels, Mother Emanuel AME Church, and the James Island County Park, reports CBS Charleston affiliate WCSC-TV.

The Mother Emanuel AME Church is at the center of one of the trials, as it is the site where Dylann Roof is accused of gunning down nine parishioners in June of 2015. Jury selection resumes in that trail on Wednesday.

The other trial is that of Michael Slager, a former Charleston police officer who shot Walter Scott in the back as he ran away. Slager is being tried for murder, but his lawyer contends the shooting was in self-defense. Testimony is currently underway in that trial.

City officials have said that local police and the FBI are investigating the letters mentioning racially oriented violence that were sent from outside of the United States.

WCSC reports that Investigators have not yet developed information that identifies a particular person who may have mailed the letter or any specific, credible threats. 

Local officials have ramped up security around the city’s official buildings since the two trials began.

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