Friday, June 24, 2022

The Department of Justice is still investigating police murders during the civil rights era

The Justice Department’s decision this week to close the investigation into Emmett Till’s murder ended the possibility of new charges in the teen’s death 66 years ago, but agents are still investigating about 20 civil rights violations, including is also investigating whether he was killed by police. Ten years ago, there were 13 black men in three southern states.

According to the agency’s latest report to Congress, the department is investigating the deaths of six people who were shot dead by police during the 1970 racial uprising in Augusta, Georgia. The city, famous for hosting the Masters Golf Tournament, was engulfed in riots after a black teenager was beaten to death in a county jail.

The agency is also investigating the killings of seven more blacks who took part in student protests in South Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana during the social uprisings of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Investigators are investigating seven more cases, including the killing of a girl in Pennsylvania, the report said.

In some of these murders, the suspects have already been convicted and acquitted, so it is impossible to prosecute on the same charges. Lost memories, lost evidence, and the death of potential witnesses almost always cause problems in seeking justice for decades.

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Still, the group leader – John Bennett, Sammy L. McCullough, Charlie McMurphy, James Stokes, McWilson, and William Wright – who formed in Georgia to tell the story of the “August Six” is hoping for some justice. even if not prosecuted, it is preferable for the families of the victims.

“If there is a seal of the Department of Justice, even a statement that the murders are wrong will help even if there is no persecution. I think it would be very useful for the society,” said Augusta, who observed the 1970 riots. ‘from the myth of John Hayes.

The Justice Department said Monday it completed its investigation after Till, a black teenager from Chicago who was tortured, killed and thrown into a river in Mississippi in 1955, whistled at a white woman in a village store. Two white men acquitted by a white jury later confessed to the murder in an interview with a paid magazine, but both died and officials said no new charges could be filed.

The Justice Department’s “Cold Work” initiative was launched in 2006 and was formalized the following year under the Till Act to demonstrate the depth and brutality of racial hatred in the South of Jim Crow. Originally created to investigate other unresolved cases of the Civil Rights era, it was later expanded to include killings on city and college campuses during the Vietnam War and anti-racism protests.

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In Augusta, nearly 3,000 people are believed to have taken part in protests and riots that followed the beating of 16-year-old Charles Oatman to death in prison. Disappointed by his death, years of complaints about racial inequality escalated into riots that caused about $ 1 million in damage over a wide area.

On the morning of May 12, 1970, six black men were killed by police in a shootout. Two white officers were charged, one with the murder of John Stokes and the other with injuring another man, but both were acquitted in whole or in part by white judges.

Families are still grieving, Hayes said, but the killings will not be discussed at all in August.

“There are a lot of injuries and things people don’t want to show,” Hayes, who said the group was in contact with relatives of half of the victims.

Other police shootings under consideration have sparked on-campus demonstrations amid protests over the ill-treatment of blacks.

FILE – This file photo shows two black men killed in the “Orange Massacre” on the outskirts of South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, South Carolina, February 8, 1968.

On February 8, 1968, three people were killed during a protest to separate a bowling alley near South Carolina State College in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Nine state police officers were acquitted in the so-called “Orangeburg Massacre” incident, and the campus sports arena now honors three victims, Samuel Hammond, Delano Middleton and Henry Smith.

Philip Gibbs and James Earl Green were killed by police during a student demonstration at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, on May 15, 1970, and Leonard Brown and Denver Smith were shot dead during a demonstration at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. November 16, 1972. No one has been prosecuted for the murders in Jackson or Baton Rouge.

Seven other cases pending before the Department of Justice date from 1959 to 1970 and concern individuals. Among the victims was 9-year-old Donna Reason, who was killed on May 18, 1970, when someone threw a Molotov cocktail at the home of a mixed-race family in Chester, Pennsylvania. No one has been arrested.


This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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