[Washington, D.C.] â€“ U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) announced that he is co-sponsoring the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, legislation that would create two new offices at the Department of Justice to investigate and prosecute civil rights killings that took place prior to 1970. The bill would also authorize $11.5 million annually to the Department of Justice for these new offices to hire additional civil rights prosecutors, FBI agents, and community relations service staff.
â€œThe murder of Emmett Till more than 50 years ago is one of several heinous unsolved crimes of the Civil Rights era,â€ Durbin said. â€œThis legislation would help law enforcement officials bring the people responsible for such crimes to justice.â€
The new offices within the Department of Justice would be the Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Investigative Office â€“ an FBI office headed by a Chief Investigator â€“ and the Unsolved Crimes Section under the Civil Rights Division. The Crime Investigative Office will pursue pre-1970 unsolved murder cases in coordination with state and local law enforcement officials and bring those who have committed these murders to justice.
Of the $11.5 million in annual appropriations authorized in the bill, $5 million would go to the Unsolved Crimes Section and $1.5 million would go to the Community Relations Service of the Department of Justice to work with local communities in identifying these cases.