Sunday, June 13, 2004
The newly formed Philadelphia Coalition of blacks, whites and Choctaws released the following statement calling for justice and issuing a long-overdue apology for the tragic murders that happened there on Father's Day 40 years ago. See http://neshobajustice.com for a schedule of the memorial service on Sunday, June 20.
"Forty years ago, on June 21, 1964, three young men, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were murdered in Neshoba County by members of the Ku Klux Klan. The state of Mississippi has never brought criminal indictments against anyone for these murders—an act of omission of historic significance. There is, for good and obvious reasons, no statute of limitations on murder. This principle of law holds that anyone who takes the life of another person for any reason not provided by law is never immune from prosecution, no matter how remote in time."
"With firm resolve and strong belief in the rule of law, we call on the Neshoba County District Attorney, the state Attorney General and the U.S. Department of Justice to make every effort to seek justice in this case. We deplore the possibility that history will record that the state of Mississippi, and this community in particular, did not make a good faith effort to do its duty.
We state candidly and with deep regret that some of our own citizens, including local and state law enforcement officers, were involved in the planning and execution of these murders. We are also cognizant of the shameful involvement and interference of state government, including actions of the State Sovereignty Commission, in thwarting justice in this case."
"Finally, we wish to say to the families of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, that we are profoundly sorry for what was done in this community to your loved ones. And we are mindful of our responsibility as citizens to call on the authorities to make an effort to work for justice in this case. Continued failure to do so will only further compound the wrong."
"We, the undersigned, call on those in authority to use every available resource and do all things necessary to bring about a just resolution to this case."
Leroy Clemons, co-chairman
James E. Prince III, co-chairman
Dawn Lea Chalmers
Nettie A. Cox Moore
Hon. Rayburn Waddell
Hon. James Young