Partnerships Established With NAACP, the National Urban League, and the Southern Poverty Law Center
|Washington, D.C. April 27, 2007|
Washington, D.C. – Today Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, joined leaders from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Urban League and the Southern Poverty Law Center to announce new partnerships aimed at the Civil Rights-Era Cold Case Initiative.
Throughout the tumultuous years of the civil rights-era, many racially motivated murders were committed in response to the Civil Rights movement. Many of these murders were not investigated, inadequately investigated, unreported, or misidentified as an accidental death or disappearance. The FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice have a responsibility to investigate and prosecute these civil rights-era cold case murders where evidence still exists, in an effort to bring closure to these heinous crimes.
“The Justice Department is committed to investigating and prosecuting civil-rights era homicides for as long as it takes and as far as the law allows—because there is no statute of limitations on human dignity and justice,” said Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. “The partnership we have forged with the NAACP, the Urban League and the Southern Poverty Law Center solidifies our commitment to our shared mission of re-examining cold cases and doing all we can to bring justice to the criminals who may have gone unpunished. The assistance of these groups has been crucial, and we are proud to work with them on this important mission.”
“Although we cannot turn back the clock nor right these wrongs, we will continue to work closely with our partners to bring a measure of justice to the victims’ families and friends who never lost hope,” said Director Mueller. “Protecting the civil rights of all Americans is one of the FBI’s highest missions, whether the violations occurred four days ago or forty years ago.”
In February 2006, the FBI enacted an initiative to identify hate crimes that occurred prior to December 1969, and resulted in death. The Bureau’s 56 field offices were asked to re-examine their unsolved civil rights cases and determine which ones could still be viable for prosecution. As such, the FBI have partnered with a number of state and local authorities, civic organizations, and community leaders to reexamine old files. Since the initiative began, the FBI has received nearly 100 such referrals. The FBI is continuing to assess each referral for its investigative and legal viability and, given the updated investigative and forensic tools, move forward in investigating these cases.