The FBI is ready to close nearly 100 unsolved civil rights-era killings three years after the agency pledged to investigate the cases, The Washington Post reported Sunday. Investigators told the paper few indictments will be issued because of the deaths of prime suspects and the difficulty of gathering decades-old evidence.
Race did not play a role in nearly one-fifth of the 108 cases, according to the paper. In some cases the people died in accidents, non-racially motivated fights or in circumstances family members did not want made public.
FBI Special Agent Cynthia Deitle, head of the effort, told The Post that with the exception of a dozen or so cases that bureau knows who committed the crime. “Some we know; others we know but can’t prove. For every other case, we got it,” Deitle said.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez told The Post, “These racially motivated murders are some of the greatest blemishes on our nation’s history,”adding, . . . . If we can solve a number of these cases, that’s fantastic. But if we can bring to closure all of these cases, I think this will be well worth the effort.”
Tthe investigation has helped close information gaps and provide victim’s families with some closure, FBI investigators working on the project said. According to The Post, family members and victims’ rights advocates have long complained about how long it has taken for the federal government to investigate the unsolved crimes.