President Obama Reauthorizes, Expands ‘Emmett Till Act’

President Obama Emmett Till Act
President Obama’s term may be coming to an end very soon, but that doesn’t mean he’s stopped working to make a difference before he bids the White House farewell. POTUS recently signed the “Emmett Till Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016” which expands the terms of a previous bill so that justice can further be served.

The “Emmett Till Act” was originally passed in 2007 that made it legal to reopen civil rights cold cases that occurred before 1970. POTUS’ reauthorization included an expansion that now includes ” the investigation and prosecution of criminal civil rights statutes violations that occurred before 1980 and resulted in a death,” according to Congress’ website.

The bill includes instructions for the FBI and Department of Justice, such as meeting regularly with ” civil rights organizations, institutions of higher education, and DOJ-designated entities to coordinate information sharing and discuss the status of DOJ’s Emmett Till Act work”, as well as “hold accountable under federal and state law individuals who were perpetrators of, or accomplices in, unsolved civil rights murders and disappearances.”

It also outlines that families involved in the investigations should be kept regularly informed and that the FBI and DJ should “support the full accounting of all victims whose deaths or disappearances were the result of racially motivated crimes.”

The bill was named after 14-year-old Emmett Till, a black young man who was viciously murdered by two white men after being accused of flirting with a white woman. Neither of the men involved were convicted and later went on to participate in an interview where they described how they killed Till. Activist Alvin Sykes first introduced the legislation in 2005 as part of his vow to Till’s mother that he’d continue seeking justice for her son’s murder.

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