Relatives have said they would send a petition of 250,000 signatures supporting the case’s reopening to Mississippi authorities.
Family members of Emmett Till joined supporters Friday in asking that the federal investigation into the teen’s 1955 lynching be reopened.
Till was kidnapped and murdered in Mississippi after witnesses said he whistled at a white woman in a store. His death shocked the country and galvanized the Civil Rights movement.
Two white men, J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant, confessed to torturing and killing 14-year-old Till and admitted to beating, shooting and throwing his body in the Tallahatchie River during an interview with Look magazine. The pair was acquitted by an all-white jury.
In 2017, professor Timothy Tyson introduced a new piece of evidence claiming the woman who accused Till of making an unwanted sexual advance toward her decades ago lied.
After a yearlong reinvestigation of the case, the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division determined they could not prove the woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, had lied about the incident to federal prosecutors and closed the case for a second time last December.
Now, relatives of Till are urging law enforcement to reverse that decision and prosecute Bryant Donham, now in her 80s, according to The Associated Press.
Relatives sent Mississippi authorities a petition signed by 250,000 people in support of restarting the investigation into Till’s murder, the outlet added, but state law enforcement is skeptical of the likelihood that the case will be reopened in the future.
“This is a tragic and horrible crime, but the FBI, which has far greater resources than our office, has investigated this matter twice and determined that there is nothing more to prosecute,” Michelle Williams, chief of staff for Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch, told the AP in a statement.
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