The U.S. Justice Department may reinvestigate the 1955 killing of Emmett Till, a then 14-year-old African American, who was brutally beaten and lynched after a woman had accused him of flirting with her, USA Today reported. The unveiling came just a week after Attorney General Jeff Sessions expressed his support for pursuing and prosecuting killers who went unpunished during the civil rights era.
Till's cousin, Deborah Watts, and activist Alvin Sykes met with Sessions.
“He said no one gets a pass,” Watts said.
The news of a possible reinvestigation comes roughly two months after Carolyn Bryant, the woman who had accused Till of flirting with her, admitted that she had lied. Ultimately, it was her fabricated story that led to the brutal death of Till, who, at the time, was visiting family in Mississippi.
Justice officials are exploring the possible reopening of the case because Bryant admitted she had lied about Till touching her--a claim she repeated to FBI officials a decade ago.
Acting Assistant Attorney General T.E. Wheeler II cautioned optimism, saying it's difficult to pursue such cases because of particular barriers.
“We caution, however, that even with our best efforts, investigations into historic cases are exceptionally difficult, and there may be insurmountable legal and evidentiary barriers to bringing federal charges against any remaining living persons,” he wrote in a letter to U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss.
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood said his office interview a couple of people involved in the Till case but released no details.
The unpublished memoir in which Bryant details her experiences about what happened won't be available for public inspection until 2036 or until she dies, but authorities could subpoena her remarks.
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