Bowling Green Christmas parade canceled after officials received threats against Emmett Till protesters
BOWLING GREEN, KENTUCKY: Threats to shoot people who wanted to join a Kentucky Christmas parade that was set to take place on Saturday, December 3 to condemn the 1955 execution of Emmett Till led to the cancellation of the event. According to a statement from the police, the Bowling Green Jaycees' annual Christmas parade has been postponed due to "an excess of caution."
Attempts to shoot the anti-racism activists were made since at least three organizations planned to gather outside the town's justice center on Saturday.
In a Facebook video, Warren County Sheriff Brett Hightower stated that his agency received threats late on Friday evening "to shoot anyone who is protesting and anyone helping the protesters." "As of this moment we have not been able to determine the validity of this threat,” Hightower stated. "However we feel it is important to alert our citizens," as reported by New York Post.
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When Till was 14 years old, a White woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, said the youngster had allegedly whistled at her, leading to his kidnapping and lynching in Mississippi. Till was abducted, tortured, and gunned down a week later, and dumped into the Tallahatchie River. His swollen and mutilated body was found three days later. Carolyn Bryant Donham’s husband, Roy Bryant, and half-brother, JW Milam, were arrested for his reported lynching. However, they were later acquitted. Although the two of them later admitted guilt, they could not be prosecuted due to double-jeopardy laws.
The civil rights movement was sparked by Till's death. This summer, a warrant for the woman's arrest, Carolyn Bryant Donham, was found unserved in the basement of the courthouse, which brought the case extra attention. Several places were planned for the protests on Saturday, according to local news station WBKO. Bryant Donham is now believed to reside in an apartment building in Bowling Green, Kentucky, where demonstrators hoped to have her detained on that warrant turned up. A Mississippi grand jury declined to charge Bryant Donham in August.
In the Facebook video, Bowling Green Police Chief Michael Delaney stated that his agency is collaborating with the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Kentucky State Police, the Warren County Sheriff's Office, and the Kentucky State Police to identify the source of Friday's threat. The parade's organizers made a statement stating that they were attempting to reschedule the holiday celebrations for a later time. They wrote, "Out of an abundance of caution, we are canceling today’s parade. The safety of our participants and spectators is ALWAYS are main focus. We have been in constant communication with law enforcement and have felt, all week, that we could provide a safe, fun event. With this latest information we knew that postponing was our best option."