Emmett Till Murder Investigation Re-Opened By Federal Government


Emmett Till Murder Investigation Re-Opened By Federal Government

Back in March, the Justice Department told Congress in a report that it had chose to re-launch its investigation following "the discovery of new information".

Till's murder helped spark the Civil Rights movement of the mid-twentieth-century.

The federal report is sent annually to lawmakers under legislation bearing Till's name, and this year's report does not describe the new information that triggered the additional investigation.

It didn't elaborate on the nature of the information, but the Washington Post reports that the key detail was contained in historian Timothy Tyson's 2017 book, The Blood of Emmett Till.

During the summer of 1955 Emmett Till was visiting his family in MS when the Chicago teen encountered a white woman at a store who claimed he whistled at her and touched her inappropriately. Though white men J.W. Milam and Roy Bryant were ultimately acquitted by an all-white jury, they later confessed to brutally murdering Till in a Look magazine interview.

"It's probably always an open case until all the parties have passed away", said District Attorney Dewayne Richardson, whose circuit includes the community where Till was abducted. Against advice, she demanded that his funeral be open casket.

"What's the matter baby, can't you take it?", she claimed he said. Paula Johnson, co-director of an academic group that reviews unsolved civil rights slayings, said she can't think of anything other than Tyson's book that could have prompted the Justice Department to reopen the Till investigation.

Relatives of Till who have tried to get the case reopened since the release of the book, are grateful for the newfound efforts.

According to the Associated Press, Carolyn Bryant - who will turn 84 years old this month and goes by Carolyn Donham - lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. The FBI still conducted an inquiry, which included an exhumation of Emmett's body from an IL cemetery, for about two years to settle whether there were any state crimes that could still be prosecuted. The Justice Department declined to comment on the status of the investigation.

Emmett Till, a Chicago native, was visiting family in Money, Mississippi, when he walked into a shop owned by Carolyn Donham, then Carolyn Bryant. An all-white jury freed her husband and the other man even without it. Testimony indicated a woman might have been in a vehicle with Bryant and Milam when they abducted Till, but no one else was ever charged.

TYSON: She said her testimony in court of him grabbing her and making sexual advances to her - that part's not true.

Donham, however, would later testify that Till took hold of her wrist and asked for a date.

In his 2008 interview with the woman who alleged Till flirted with her, she said that nothing Till did "could ever justify what happened to him". I don't know what's - we don't know.