On the 57th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington, the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting reports that the U.S. Department of Justice has abandoned its investigation into Emmett Till’s 1955 lynching, making charges in the case impossible. Documentarian Keith Beauchamp, who has investigated Till’s case with the feds, told the outlet that the FBI has “not publicly stated the case is closed, but it’s closed.”
The decision comes as thousands of supporters have advocated for the prosecution of Carolyn Bryant Donham—a white woman who claimed 65 years ago that Till, a 14-year-old Black boy, had sexually harassed her. After her allegation, the teen was taken to a dark barn on a plantation where he was tortured and brutally murdered. His killers were acquitted by an all-white jury, but months later they admitted to their crimes.
Till’s case has been reopened twice over time and more details have surfaced, including the suggestion that Donham lied about the situation under oath. A 2017 book also claimed that Donham had admitted to lying about her interactions with Till. Ultimately no charges have ever been filed. “The past is not the past until justice prevails,” Till’s cousin, Deborah Watts told MCIR.