Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Life&Culture | By Sue Mclaughlin

Justice Department reopens investigation in 1955 murder of Emmett Till

Justice Department reopens investigation in 1955 murder of Emmett Till

The case wasclosed in 2007, but the DOJ informed Congress in a report earlier this year that they were re-opening it "after receiving new information", according to the Washington Post.

The report issued in late March doesn't indicate what that information might be.

Conspiracy or murder charges could be filed if anyone still alive is shown to have been involved, he said, but too much time likely has passed to prosecute anyone for other crimes, such as lying to investigators or in court. Distressing images of the dead child were published in Jet magazine, which in turn forced Americans to reckon with the brutality of racial violence and sparked a renewed fervor for the Civil Rights Movement.

Till, a 14-year-old from Chicago, was visiting relatives in rural MS when he was accused of whistling and making sexual advances at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant. Despite the fact that white men J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant later admitted to ruthlessly killing Till in a Look magazine meet after they were cleared by an all-white jury.

A MS prosecutor isn't saying whether federal authorities have given him any new information since they reopened an investigation into the slaying of Emmett Till in 1955.

CHANG: The two white men who were tried in 1955 for Till's murder were acquitted, and both of them are now dead.

Parker says the Justice Department hasn't told Till's family anything about the reopened investigation. The government has investigated 115 cases involving 128 victims under the "cold case" law named for Till, the report said. Three years later, a MS grand jury declined to issue new charges, according to CNN.

"None of us wants to do anything that jeopardizes any investigation or impedes, but we are also very interested in justice being done", she told the outlet, declining to discuss specifics. His mangled body was found in the Tallahatchie River.

He had been mutilated, and his mother's decision to hold an open-casket funeral with his unrecognizable face on full display was instrumental in drawing attention to his case and has been credited with "reigniting a widespread passion for the Civil Rights Movement". Relatives of Till pushed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reopen the case a year ago after publication of the book.

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During the trial of Roy Bryant and Milam, Carolyn Bryant was brought as a potential witness for the defense.

"We don't know anything".

"He said, 'How about a date, baby?'" she testified, according to a trial transcript released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation a decade ago.

When she spoke to Tyson in 2008, she acknowledged that it was "not true" that Emmett had grabbed her or made vulgar remarks.

Two men were charged with murder in connection to Till's death, but were acquitted.

"Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him", she said.

"Deliberations took barely an hour, with one juror claiming the acquittal could've come sooner had they not stopped to have a soda", CNN reports.

After delivering her testimony, Judge Curtis Swango ruled that it was inadmissible.

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