Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Scant Progress in Effort on Old Racial Killings

New York Times
August 23, 2010

In February 2007, Alberto R. Gonzales, the attorney general under President George W. Bush, issued a stern warning to those who murdered blacks with impunity during the civil rights era: “You have not gotten away with anything. We are still on your trail.”

He noted that time was short. The window of opportunity to solve racially motivated crimes more than 40 years old was closing. Families of the victims had waited decades for resolution, while suspects and witnesses have died.

More than three years later, they are still waiting.

There have been no federal indictments since Mr. Gonzales’s announcement, which heralded the Civil Rights-Era Cold Case Initiative. Very little of the millions of dollars approved by Congress to finance the initiative has materialized. Though 40-year-old murder cases are incredibly difficult to solve, no Federal Bureau of Investigation field agents are assigned to pursue the cases full time.