Emmett Till protest organizers explain significance of event Saturday

BOWLING GREEN, Ky.-A protest demanding justice for the 1955 brutal murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till is happening in Bowling Green Saturday. 

“That is no way to treat a child. A child might do anything, 14 years old, they might do anything,” said Veterans Association of African Descendants elder Mmoja Ajabu. 

You might wonder why Bowling Green?

The white woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, who accused Till of making advances towards her nearly 70 years ago in Mississippi and sparked the horrific events that led up to his death, is now living in Bowling Green.

The case has since seen renewed interest after an unserved 1955 arrest warrant for Donham was discovered in a Mississippi courthouse this summer. In August, a Mississippi grand jury declined to indict Donham, now 89, on any charges.

This Saturday, the Veterans Association of African Descendants will hold a protest at the Warren County Justice Center… and say they will exercise their second amendment. 

“In America, at these times, someone would have to be pretty much out of their mind not to have the capability to protect themselves,” said Ajabu. 

The local NAACP chapter has released a statement saying they will not take part in the protest…largely because of safety concerns. 

“While we hope the protest is peaceful, you never know what could happen and at the NAACP, we don’t want to put people’s lives at risk over this circumstance,” said Bowling Green-Warren County NAACP President Ryan Dearbone. 

They also want to allocate their resources towards helping people who are facing discrimination right now. 

“Even though this case has been going on way too long, our focus is on people who we can help right now, today,” said Dearbone. 

The Bowling Green Police Department is aware of the protest, and say they cannot take any legal action in Kentucky against Donham. 

“This case comes out of Mississippi so all the judicial action has been taken there. And from what I understand and what we know there are no active warrants, no inactive warrants there’s nothing that would require us to take any legal action,” said BGPD PIO Ronnie Ward. 

Regarding any disruption or concern the protest could bring to Bowling Green streets…

“No threat at all, this is no different than any other protest. It’s just at the justice center so they won’t be in the streets at all,” said Ward. 

Protest leaders say they are also filing a civil lawsuit in Jackson, Mississippi.