Bowling Green Christmas parade canceled over Emmett Till protesters

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Bowling Green Christmas parade canceled over Emmett Till protesters

A Kentucky Christmas parade was canceled after threats were made to shoot those who planned to use the event to protest the 1955 lynching of Emmett Till.

Bowling Green announced Saturday morning the parade would not take place after law enforcement officials reported threats against at least three groups planning protests. 

Warren County Sheriff Brett Hightower said in a Facebook video that his office learned late Friday evening of threats “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 said. “However we feel it is important to alert our citizens.” 

Till, then 14, was abducted and lynched in Mississippi after a white woman claimed the boy had whistled at her. His death galvanized the civil rights movement.

The story gained renewed attention this summer when an unserved arrest warrant against the woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, was discovered in a courthouse basement.

FILE - An undated portrait of Emmett Louis Till, a black 14 year old Chicago boy, whose weighted down body was found in the Tallahatchie River near the Delta community of Money, Mississippi, August 31, 1955. Local residents Roy Bryant, 24, and J.W. Milam, 35, were accused of kidnapping, torturing and murdering Till for allegedly whistling at Bryant's wife. A team searching the basement of a Mississippi courthouse for evidence about the lynching of Black teenager Emmett Till has found the unserved warrant in June 2022 charging a white woman in his kidnapping in 1955, and relatives of the victim want authorities to finally arrest her nearly 70 years later. (AP Photo, File)
The body of Emmett Till, 14, was found in the Tallahatchie River near Money, Mississippi, on Aug. 31, 1955.

A tweet by the city of Bowling Green, Kentucky, announcing a Christmas parade had been cancelled.
Bowling Green announced on Twitter the Christmas parade was canceled.

Saturday’s protests were set to take place in multiple locations, local television station WBKO reported. Bryant Donham is now believed to live in an apartment complex in Bowling Green, Ky., where demonstrators hoping to have her arrested on that warrant planned to show up.

In August, a Mississippi grand jury declined to indict Bryant Donham. 

Bowling Green Police Chief Michael Delaney said in the Facebook video that his department is working with the Warren County sheriff’s office, the Kentucky state police, the FBI and the Department of Homeland security to determine the origin of Friday’s threat. 

Organizers of the parade announced they were working to reschedule the holiday festivities for a later date. 

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