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An unserved 1955 arrest warrant has prompted Emmett Till's family to seek Carolyn Bryant's arrest.


The family of Emmett Till is seeking to enforce an arrest warrant that was issued in 1955 for a white woman involved in the kidnapping that led to the lynching of the Black teenager.

After Till's mother insisted on an open-casket funeral in Chicago and Jet magazine published his mutilated body, his torture, and murder became a catalyst for the civil rights movement.


During research last June at the courthouse in Leflore County, Mississippi, a team found an unsealed 1955 arrest warrant for Carolyn Bryant, referred to on the document as "Mrs. Roy Bryant.”


In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday against Ricky Banks, the current Leflore County sheriff, Till's cousin Patricia Sterling of Jackson, Mississippi intends to force Banks to issue the warrant on Carolyn Bryant.


“We are using the available means at our disposal to try to achieve justice on behalf of the Till family,” Sterling's lawyer Trent Walker said on Friday.

According to the Justice Department, the latest investigation into the lynching of Till ended in December 2021 without any charges being filed.

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch said in July that there was nothing new to support pursuing a criminal case after researchers found the arrest warrant last June. In August, a grand jury in Leflore County declined to indict Carolyn Bryant, who has since remarried and is named Carolyn Bryant Donham.


“But for Carolyn Bryant falsely claiming to her husband that Emmett Till assaulted her Emmett would not have been murdered,” Sterling’s lawsuit says. “It was Carolyn Bryant’s lie that sent Roy Bryant and J.W. Milam into a rage, which resulted in the mutilation of Emmett Till’s body into (an) unrecognizable condition.”


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