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Fulton County, Office of the District Attorney, home of the civil rights movement investigates cold cases

Award Information

Award #
Funding Category
Competitive Discretionary
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $575,000)

The Fulton County Government, Office of the District Attorney, Capital Cases and Cold Cases Unit of the Major Crime Division submits this BJA, Fiscal Year 2022, Emmett Till Cold Case Investigations and Prosecution Program grant application. We respectfully request $500,000 in grant funding across 36 months. Fulton County is 534 square miles, with 15 municipalities, a population of more than a million residents (1,089,700), is the largest county in the state with its largest city, Atlanta, the capital of the State of Georgia. The race percentages of the Fulton County population are approximately 44% Black, 39% White, 7% Asian, 2% two or more races, and 7% Hispanic/Latino.  Fulton County constitutes the Atlanta Judicial Circuit, Fifth Judicial Administrative District, which contains only Fulton County The Fulton County District Attorney (FCDA) prosecutes felonies which are the worst of crimes and include murder, rape, kidnapping, arson, burglary, robbery and hate crimes.

Atlanta has a complicated history of widespread segregation, biased legislation, and racial subordination. With the backdrop of racial injustice, Cold case investigations in Fulton County have been delayed further by politics and the pandemic. Cold cases in Fulton County had not been processed, but homicides continue to increase. Fulton County had a total of 194 firearm related homicide cases in 2021 according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation; and from January to the end of April in 2022 there have already been 55 gun related homicides in Fulton County. The backlog of violent crime cases are at all levels of assessment, from no evaluation to partial DNA testing where DNA from a suspect has been identified. As of June 9, 2021, 10 of Fulton County’s local agencies had reported 839 unsolved cold case homicides.

In honor of Emmett Till, the name sake of this grant funding, we will hire a Victim Witness Advocate, who will not only hold hands of family members of cold case victims but also lead a conversation with Fulton county neighbors to discover incidents of missing persons never investigated. Those cases where there was no arrest can be investigated by the Cold  Case Unit to determine if any civil rights violations were committed as a part of their disappearance. Prosecution of these cases take a long time and we hope to indict 2 a year. Key partners are police preceincts investigating cold cases in Fulton County and evaluation partner Dr. Cristin Rollins.


[i] https://censusreporter.org/profiles/05000US13121-fulton-county-ga/

[ii] https://www.fultoncourt.org/about/about.php

Date Created: September 29, 2022