Alexander Cosponsors Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act

Plan Creates Offices to Investigate, Prosecute Civil Rights-Era Murders

Posted on April 27, 2006

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) joined Senators Jim Talent (R-MO) and Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Representatives John Lewis (D-GA) and Kenny Hulshof (R-MO) to introduce the Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act, which would establish a special section within the Department of Justice and a new FBI office to investigate these cases to bring the guilty to justice. “This bill should help to heal some of the ugly scars of the past,” said Alexander, an original cosponsor of the Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act. “It reminds us that equal opportunity is at the front of our goals in the United States of America, and we’ll work long and hard to try to achieve those goals. I salute Senators Talent and Dodd and the members of the House of Representatives who have been absolutely tireless in support of this civil rights legislation. I’m proud to be an original cosponsor of the bill.” The Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act would create the Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Investigative Office, a new FBI office headed by a Chief Investigator, to focus specifically on investigating unsolved Civil Rights-era murders in coordination with state and local law enforcement officials. The bill also creates the Unsolved Crimes Section, a new office within the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice, which will focus on prosecuting pre-1970 cases that resulted in death and still remain unsolved in coordination with state and local law enforcement officials. The Section Chief would be responsible for prosecuting these cases and would be required to report to Congress and the American people on their actions. If a crime other than murder is discovered during the course of an investigation it will be referred to the appropriate law enforcement officials. The Section would report its findings to Congress annually on September 30th, the end of the federal fiscal year. Key Components of the Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act: • NEW OFFICES FOCUSED ON UNSOLVED CIVIL RIGHTS MURDERS – The Unsolved Crimes Section and the Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Investigative Office will specifically target murders from the Civil Rights era. • SEEKING THE TRUTH – Through aggressive investigation, prosecution and reporting, the new Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Investigative Office and the Unsolved Crimes Section will shed light on the unsolved murders from the Civil Rights-era, allowing victims’ families to learn the truth about these crimes. • INVESTIGATE UNSOLVED MURDERS – The mission of the Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Investigative Office is to aggressively investigate unsolved murders in coordination with state and local law enforcement officials. • PROSECUTE CRIMINALS – The mission of the Unsolved Crimes Section is to aggressively prosecute criminals in coordination with state and local law enforcement officials. • REFERRAL OF OTHER UNSOLVED CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS – If during the course of an investigation a crime other than murder is discovered, it will be promptly referred to the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. • ACCOUNTABILITY TO CONGRESS – The Unsolved Crimes Section Chief will provide a report on its activities to Congress annually on September 30th, the end of the federal fiscal year. • COMMUNITY RELATIONS SERVICE – The Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act includes an additional $1.5 million per year for the Community Relations Service of the Department of Justice to partner with local communities.