Justice Dept reopens investigation into Emmett Till’s lynching murder

Elias Hubbard
July 12, 2018

According to the Associated Press, the federal government has reopened the investigation into Till's murder. In a book published previous year, researcher Timothy B. Tyson reported that the woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, had acknowledged that the entirety of her story was "not true" but that she did not remember the precise sequence of events.

Tyson quotes a 2008 interview with Donham in his book, acknowledging that she lied during her testimony.

The case was closed in 2007 after authorities said the suspects had died and the state grand jury didn't file any charges.

The Justice Department told Congress in a March report that the case would be reopened based on "new information", although a cousin of the slain teen said she was not aware of the development until she was contacted by reporters, reported the Associated Press.

"Nothing that boy did could ever justify what happened to him", Donham told Tyson, a senior research scholar at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.

It is not clear from the report what that information might be, but relatives of Till asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reopen the case after the book was published.

His body was later found in the Tallahatchie River, weighed down by a cotton gin.

Ms Donham, who was 21 when the incident occurred and known as Carolyn Bryant, told a court in 1955 that Emmett Till took her arm in her family's grocery store and asked: "How about a date, baby?"

"What's the matter baby, can't you take it?", she claimed he said.

The evidence, which was heard after jurors had been sent out, was ruled inadmissible by the judge. Bryant and Milam were charged with the murder, but an all-white jury decided the men were innocent. His mother, Mamie Till, left her son's casket open for the funeral, to show people how insane racism had gotten in the south. They both admitted to the murder in an interview with Look, but were never retried.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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