Emmett Till investigation closed without charges as DOJ cites "insufficient evidence"

Chicago, Illinois - The Department of Justice has reportedly concluded its investigation into the racist 1955 murder of teenager Emmett Till, who was accused by a white Mississippi shop owner of making advances on her.

Lillian Jackson, the sister of the late Emmett Till, stands near a picture of her brother in 2004.
Lillian Jackson, the sister of the late Emmett Till, stands near a picture of her brother in 2004.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Professor Timothy Tyson claimed in 2017 that Carolyn Bryant Donham (87) confided to him that she lied when she told federal agents the 14-year-old took her hand while visiting the market she operated with her husband, and said he'd been with "white women before."

"That part's not true," Donham allegedly told Tyson.

But according to CNN, Donham told investigators she never recanted her testimony and authorities could not prove otherwise. No recording of Donham's alleged confession to Tyson was made.

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Till, who was from Chicago, was tortured and killed more than 65 years ago after the then 20-year-old shopkeeper told her husband she'd been whistled at and harassed by the teen. An all-white jury acquitted Donham's husband and another white man who'd been charged with killing Till. Those men, who have since died, told a magazine writer that they'd murdered the child.

The horrific killing had a big impact in the Civil Rights movement and remains powerfully present in collective memory.

Another investigation into Till's case was closed in 2007. Tyson's claims prompted it to be reopened in 2017.

"Where do we go from here?" Till’s cousin, Ollie Gordon, said at a press conference. "We cannot stop. Even though we don't feel that we got justice, we still must move forward so that these particular hate crimes will not continue."

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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