Six years ago, the FBI started a review of 112 cold-case killings from the civil rights era, and civil rights activists are critical of the FBI’s efforts, reports NPR. The review comes with word of the death of a man who’d been named by the Concordia, La., Sentinel, of a possible suspect the notorious death of black businessman Frank Morris in 1964. The man, who denied involvement, died last week. An FBI official said the agency had “diligently pursued the information,” but “turned up no credible evidence” to link the man to the killing.
Law Prof. Paula Johnson, co-director of the Cold Case Justice Initiative at Syracuse University, called on Congress to hold hearings on whether the FBI has done enough to investigate Morris’ case and others. “We would want a much more accelerated pace to these cases,” she says, “and that’s the thing that we’re calling for.” The 2008 federal Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Act provided $10 million annually for the U.S. Justice Department to investigate racially motivated killings from before 1970. A proponent of the law is “disappointed overall” in its implementation. “[There] never was a very aggressive outreach effort to find evidence and witnesses,” says Alvin Sykes of the Emmett Till Justice Campaign.