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Higher Hopes? Professor Paula Johnson Assesses the Till Act for Beauregard Daily News

Posted on Tuesday 9/14/2021
Paula Johnson

"There were higher hopes": Did the FBI fail in trying to resolve civil rights cold cases?

(Beauregard Daily News (LA) | Sept. 13, 2021) A retired FBI agent was at a Christian retreat in the late 1990s when a churchgoer confided that he had witnessed a shooting of five Black men in 1960 that he believed had been racially motivated.

And when Congress started to pressure the FBI in 2007 to investigate dozens of cases involving violence by the Ku Klux Klan and other whites during the civil rights era, the retired agent told an active agent what he had heard, FBI documents say ...

... But as soon as the bureau learned that the Fuller son named by the witness also had died, its interest waned, just as it eventually did in nearly all of the other cases.

And the FBI missed questions, recently uncovered by the LSU Cold Case Project, about whether a different Fuller son who was still alive when the FBI did its work, could have been involved in what happened at Fuller’s house that day.

Asked about this, an FBI spokesperson, Tina Jagerson, responded: “We appreciate your interest in this topic; however, we do not have a comment for you.”

But Paula Johnson, co-director of the Cold Case Justice Initiative at Syracuse University College of Law, said that “in terms of criminal actions, we haven’t seen very much” resulting from the FBI’s work under the Till Act.

“There were higher hopes,” she said ...

Read the full story.