'The Clock is Ticking': White House under Pressure to Reopen Civil Rights-Era Cold CasesBreaking News
tags: civil rights, Ku Klux Klan, Department of Justice, murders
After more than a year and a half of failing to act, the White House says it is now “actively vetting” candidates to establish an oversight board to reexamine dozens of decades-old unsolved murders of Black Americans.
The Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board, which was established with nearly unanimous bipartisan support in Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump in January 2019, would have the power to declassify government files and subpoena new testimony in the hopes of reopening cases or revealing publicly why many were never fully investigated.
The board is seen by advocates as the last chance to compel federal and local law enforcement agencies to locate information on the racially motivated killings that were endemic across the South well into the 1970s.
“We are actively vetting candidates for appointment to this board,” a White House official told POLITICO on Monday after it inquired last week why the presidential body, which has also been supported by a congressional appropriation, has languished for so long.
"They might find something I didn't find, or the FBI in 1960 didn't find, or the Alabama State Police didn't find,” said Cynthia Deitle, who formerly ran the civil rights unit at the FBI.
And even if the perpetrators can no longer be brought to justice, the board is seen as a crucial tool for providing families of the victims more answers.