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Relatives of Emmett Till want to renew their investigation into the '55 lynching

Emmett Till's relatives joined forces with supporters to ask authorities to reverse their decision to end an investigation into the 1955 lynching of a Black teenager and instead to prosecute the white woman who was at the heart of the case right from the beginning.

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Relatives of Emmett Till want to renew their investigation into the '55 lynching

Authorities know for decades that Carolyn Bryant Donham (now in her 80s) played a crucial role in Till's death. They must act quickly to bring her to justice before the clock runs out, according to Deborah Watts, a relative of Till.

Watts, who is a Minnesotan and heads the Emmett Till Legacy Foundation said, "Time is not our side." He spoke during a news conference, which included a saxophone rendition of the Mississippi Capitol's civil rights anthem.

A petition was signed by approximately 250,000 people to request an investigation into the murder. It was presented to Mississippi authorities by relatives. This proved the extent of racism in the South. Others continue to petition.

Michelle Williams, chief-of-staff for Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch cast doubt on the possibility that a renewed investigation might be possible. She stated in a statement that the Justice Department had collaborated with a local District Attorney's Office in a Re-examination which ended in December.

Williams stated that "this is a terrible and horrendous crime, but the FBI has investigated it twice and concluded that there is no further evidence to prosecute."

In December, the Justice Department announced that it would end its renewed investigation into Till's murder. Till was a 14-year old boy from Chicago. Witnesses said that he whistled at Carolyn Bryant (then known as Donham) at a family shop in rural Money, Mississippi.

Federal officials reopened the investigation following a 2017 book that stated Donham had claimed she lied about Till's accosting. Donham's relatives have denied publicly that Donham retracted her allegations. The Justice Department stated that Donham had told the FBI that she had not changed her story.

The Justice Department stated that Timothy B. Tyson (author of "The Blood of Emmett Till") was unable produce transcripts or recordings to support his story of Donham allegedly confessing to lying about their encounter.

One of Till's cousins was interviewed by the FBI. Wheeler Parker Jr. previously stated to The Associated Press that he heard Till yelling at the woman in an interview, but that the teen did not do anything to justify being killed.

Roy Bryant, Donham's ex-husband and half-brother, was also a part of Donham's murder investigation. Milam was tried for murder in the month that followed Till's death. But, an all-white Mississippi jury found them not guilty. They confessed to their crimes in an interview with Look magazine, months later.

However, the Justice Department discovered that Bryant and Milam weren't the only ones involved in Till's murder. Estimates of the number of people involved range from less than a dozen to more like 14.

While it is unlikely that a governor would be involved in the decision to reopen an inquiry, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves was questioned during Friday's news conference about Till and his family's quest for justice in the case of the teenager's lynching.

Reeves, a Republican, stated that the lynchings of teenagers are significant and that society should do everything possible to bring those responsible to justice.

Monday's final approval by Congress to legislation, which for the first time would make the lynching of a convicted felon a federal hate crime, was sent to President Joe Biden. The Emmett Till Anti-Lynching Act, which has been in existence for years, is one of 200 bills that have been introduced in the United States over the past century to ban lynching.

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