ADL Hails Enactment Of Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act
New York, NY, October 10, 2008 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) welcomed a new law that will authorize the creation of a unit in the U.S. Department of Justice to help coordinate, investigate and prosecute unsolved murders from the civil rights era.
The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, signed into law this week by President George W. Bush, is named in honor of a 14-year-old African-American teenager whose brutal 1955 murder while vacationing in Mississippi remains unsolved.
"During the civil rights era crimes motivated by hate and racism often went unpunished, sometimes due to corruption and fear," said Marvin Nathan, ADL Civil Rights Chair and Deborah Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director. "Over the past 10 years, interest in solving these crimes has grown, and federal and state prosecutors have had success in bringing some criminals to justice.
"Sometimes justice delayed is not justice denied. The next president, working with Congress, should build on this law – providing sufficient funds to fully implement this new Justice Department initiative, as well as funding for new anti-bias education and hate crime prevention initiatives through the Department of Education," they added.
The Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act authorizes the Attorney General to spend $10 million annually over a decade to investigate and prosecute cold cases from the civil rights era. The bill passed the House in June 2007 by a vote of 422-2, and passed in the Senate by unanimous consent on September 24.
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller has stated that the Bureau has identified approximately 100 civil rights "cold cases" that merit further investigation.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.