Burr highlights importance of solving civil rights cold cases

U.S. Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) recently highlighted efforts to investigate and solve civil rights cold cases on the 61st anniversary of Emmett Till’s unsolved murder.

Till, a 14-year-old Mississippi boy who was murdered in 1955 after whistling at a white woman, embodies recent efforts to shed light on civil rights cold cases, including Burr’s bipartisan Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act, S. 2854.

“Our country has come a long way in the 61 years since the senseless and tragic murder of young Emmett Till in Mississippi, but there is still so much work left to be done,” Burr said. “There are still too many families like the Till family, who experienced tragic loss at the hands of racial violence, but who were denied justice because their cases were left cold.”

The bill, which was approved by the Senate in April, calls on the Department of Justice and the FBI to consult with civil rights experts, universities and other entities to gather evidence on cold cases.

The measure would also provide clearer direction and better coordination among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, while enhancing the DOJ’s reporting requirements.

“I am proud that the Senate has passed my bill to ensure that other cold case murders are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law in order to help bring some closure to still grieving families,” Burr said. “I’m now urging the House of Representatives to pass this legislation without delay when Congress returns.  I can think of no better way to honor Emmett Till’s legacy and to reaffirm to future generations that every single American is worthy of the law’s protection.”

The reauthorization bill would also eliminate a pre-1969 time limitation on investigations and a sunset provision included in the original bill.

“Mamie Till Mobley would be humbly proud that her son’s memory is continued so honorably,” Airickca Gordon-Taylor, a cousin of Till, said. “My family shares a membership within a community that lives with memories that never turn cold and our legacies of pain have no sunset. That’s why I am extremely pleased that two of the major provisions of the Till Bill 2 will eliminate the 10 year sunset provision for the existence of the original law and lift the 1969 time limit on cases under consideration and extend it indefinitely into the future,” said Airickca Gordon-Taylor, cousin of Emmett Till.” 

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