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President Obama Signs 'emmett Till Act' To Reopen Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Cases

With just a few weeks left in office, President Barack Obama has signed the "Emmett Till Civil Rights Crimes Reauthorization Act of 2016," which expands the responsibilities for the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to investigate and prosecute civil rights crimes that occurred before 1980 and resulted in death. According to a White House summary, the bill calls on the DOJ and FBI to support the "full accounting of all victims whose deaths

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or disappearances were the result of racially motivated crimes" and "hold accountable under federal and state law individuals who were perpetrators of, or accomplices in, unsolved civil rights murders and disappearances." The bill also requires the federal agencies to meet regularly with civil rights organizations, institutions of higher education, and DOJ-designated entities to coordinate information sharing and discuss the status of DOJ's Emmett Till Act work. The agencies must also keep families regularly informed about the status of the investigations.