1955 arrest warrant in Emmett Till case may not be enough evidence for prosecution in Mississippi
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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – An incredible discovery has been made in connection with the murder of Emmett Till.

An arrest warrant for Carolyn Bryant Dunham was discovered in the basement of a Leflore County courthouse, and the family of Till is now calling for her arrest.

Bryant Dunham is the woman who claimed Till whistled at her in a grocery store in 1955. His murder sparked the civil rights movement.

While the Till family hopes the warrant leads to Bryant Dunham’s arrest, those in the legal community worried that it may not be enough evidence to do so.

“There’s nothing about an old arrest warrant that changes that, except it confirms that if this were 1955 and not 2022 that maybe the evidence would be there,” said Matt Steffey, a law professor at Mississippi College.

This legal school of thought emphasizes how the lack of witnesses and timely evidence would simply not be enough to lead to new arrests or the reopening of an already closed case.

Those who have chronicled the story of Till’s murder have agreed. The legal ramifications of the warrant are less clear.

Emmett Louis Till, Emmett Till
FILE – This undated photo shows Emmett Louis Till, a 14-year-old black Chicago boy, who was kidnapped, tortured and murdered in 1955 after he allegedly whistled at a white woman in Mississippi. The U.S. Justice Department told relatives of Emmett Till on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 that it is ending its investigation into the 1955 lynching of the Black teenager from Chicago who was abducted, tortured and killed after witnesses said he whistled at a white woman in Mississippi. (AP Photo, File)

“The discovery of the warrant is huge historically,” said Jerry Mitchell, the founder of the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting. “Whether this is going to be enough to tip, you know, the balance, I don’t know that it is unless the authorities change their will about this.”

The Till case has been reopened twice since the original 1955 case; once in 2004 and once in 2017.

One of the most influential people in the reopening of those cases has been Keith Beauchamp, who is a filmmaker.

Beauchamp was part of the group that found the warrant, and they believe this discovery is just the start of bringing Till justice.

“It just proves our theory that Carolyn Bryant Dunham was at the house that night when Emmett Till was abducted,” he said. “She understood the danger Emmett Till would be in and did nothing to stop it.”

According to the Till family, there are mountains of evidence they are sitting on that further proves Bryant Dunham’s culpability in the case. They hope the United States Department of Justice and the Mississippi District Attorney reopens the case so justice can be served.

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