The Cold Case Justice Initiative at Syracuse University College of Law expresses our deep sympathies to the families and community of Charleston, South Carolina on the murders of their loved ones during prayer services at Emanuel AME Church, on June 17th. It is imperative that U.S. law enforcement officials and agencies bring Dylann Roof, the alleged perpetrator of this South Carolina massacre, to justice. They must also conduct a thorough investigation to bring to justice anyone who may have assisted him in the commission of this racist crime against humanity as well.
This act of racist violence is revolting and violates every instinct of humanity. It is clear that racist violence remains a frequent reality in our society that continues from the past to the present and last night’s act of terrorism upon the Historically Black Church and its members resonates in an all too familiar way. Emanuel AME Church was a target of violence in the past as it led a resistance movement in times of slavery but it was rebuilt and the congregation will surely rise again. To move our nation forward and to heal long-festering racial wounds it is imperative that law enforcement renew efforts to investigate and hold accountable the perpetrators of previous victims of racist violence, under the full weight of the law.