The following letter appeared in the online version of The New York Times on August 29, 2010, and in the print edition on August 30, 2010.
Unsolved Civil Rights Killings: The FBI View
To the Editor:
I am concerned that “Despite F.B.I. Fanfare, Time Runs Out on Cold Civil Rights Cases” (front page, Aug. 24) shortchanges readers on the efforts by dedicated FBI agents and Department of Justice prosecutors in this unprecedented undertaking to determine the facts in more than 100 unsolved civil-rights-era homicides.
Although all the details cannot be shared publicly, investigators are confident that they now know what happened in each of the 57 cases that have been closed.
Of those, six cases have been referred for state prosecution, and in 36 others, families have been told the results of the investigation. They deserve to know the truth, even when prosecution is not possible.
Investigating decades-old murder cases can be both difficult and frustrating, but this has not deterred the commitment of investigators and prosecutors. Work continues in the remaining cases to bring prosecutions when possible, and closure for families when it is not.
Michael P. Kortan
Assistant Director for Public Affairs
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Washington, Aug. 25, 2010
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