Jackson, Miss. Rejected prosecution of a white woman that sparked the previous lynching of black teen Emmett Till, possibly ending a case that shocked the nation and galvanized the modern civil rights movement
Last week, after hearing more than seven hours of testimony from investigators and witnesses, a Lefleur County grand jury charged Carolyn Bryant Donham with kidnapping and manslaughter. determined that there was insufficient evidence. County District Attorney Dwayne Richardson said in a news release on Tuesday:
The decision was made despite an unexecuted arrest warrant and recent revelations regarding her 87-year-old Donham's unpublished memoirs.
Rev. Wheeler Parker Jr., a cousin of Emmett Till and the last living witness to Till's abduction on 28 August 1955, said Tuesday's announcement was "disappointing but predictable." ' said.
"The prosecutor did his best. We appreciate his efforts, but he alone ensures that those who killed Emmett Till remain unpunished to this day." We cannot undo the hundreds of years of anti-black systems that have been in place," Parker said in a statement.
"The fact remains that those who kidnapped, tortured, and murdered Emmett did so behind the scenes, and our American justice system , they were never brought to trial for heinous crimes." said that some degree of justice was done in Till's case.
"Justice is not always locking someone up and throwing away the key," said Gordon. "MS. Donham hasn't been to prison. But in many ways, I don't think her life has been fun. She wakes up every morning to face the atrocities that have happened because of her actions."
Third cousin Deborah Watts, who heads the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation, said the case was responsible for making false accusations against black men.
"She is still exempt from accountability in this case," Watts said. . "The grand jury's decision is disappointing, but we still intend to seek justice for Emmett Till. It's not over."
Emails and voicemails seeking comment from Donham's son Tom Bryant
In June a group searching the basement of Lefleur County Courthouse found Donham, then-husband Roy Bryant, and brother-in-law J.W. Milam in the kidnapping case. The two were arrested and later acquitted of murder charges in Till's murder, but Donham, who was 21 at the time, was never taken into custody.
When a 14-year-old Chicago boy was visiting relatives in Mississippi, he and other children went to a store in the town of Money where Carolyn Bryant worked. A relative told AP that Till had whistled at a white woman, but denied he touched her as she claimed.
AP In an unpublished memoir obtained last month by . said. denied it was him. She claimed that he was the one Till was looking for, she volunteered.
A few days later Tir's battered body was found in the river, weighted down by a heavy metal fan. The decision by her mother, Mamie Till Mobley, to open Till's coffin for his funeral in Chicago showed the horror of what happened and ignited the civil rights movement.
Upon acquittal, Bryant and Milam admitted to the kidnapping and killing in an interview with Look magazine. They have never been charged with federal crimes and both died long ago.
In 2004, the US Department of Justice opened an investigation into Till's murder after receiving inquiries about whether a living person could be prosecuted.
Tir's body was also exhumed to confirm its identity. A 2005 autopsy found Till died from a gunshot wound to his head, with fractures to his wrist bones, skull, and femur.
In 2006, the FBI launched the Cold Case Initiative to identify and investigate racially motivated murders. Two years later, Congress passed the Emmett His Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Act.
The Department of Justice said the statute of limitations for potential federal crimes had expired, but the FBI worked with state investigators to determine whether state charges were possible.2007 In February, a Mississippi grand jury declined to indict anyone, and the Justice Department announced it was closing the case.
However, federal officials last year said there was "insufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that she lied to the FBI."
Timothy Tyson, a North Carolina historian who interviewed Donham for his 2017 book, The Blood of Emmett Till, said the newly discovered warrant was "her "It didn't really change the concrete evidence against." However, he said that by focusing on the case again, "Americans should be forced to face the racial and economic disparities that still exist here." 93} "The Till case will never go away, because the racism and heartless apathy that created it remain within us," Tyson wrote in an email Tuesday. has witnessed generations of black children wrestle with these disabilities, and many have died from systemic racism as deadly as ropes and revolvers.
For Gordon, the renewed attention to the Till case was a reminder of the social progress it sparked.
"After Emmett's death, I It helps younger generations recognize how far we've come with the many freedoms and civil rights we've had," Gordon said. "His death was not in vain, as his mother would say." Receive the latest headlines, stories, opinions and photos from the Toronto Sun.
Thank you for registering.
Welcome sending his mail. If you don't see it, please check your spam folder.
The next issue of Your Midday Sun will arrive in your mailbox shortly.