A Kentucky city canceled its Christmas parade after someone threatened to shoot members of a group who planned nearby protests against Emmett Till's accuser

Emmett Till
Emmett Till  
  • Threats to protestors at a rally in honor of Emmett Till led to the cancellation of a nearby Christmas parade.

  • Authorities in Bowling Green, Kentucky said there was a threat to "shoot anyone who is protesting."

  • Multiple events, including the parade and a holiday marketplace, were canceled; the protest went on as planned.

A Christmas parade in Bowling Green, Kentucky was canceled after there were threats to shoot protestors at a nearby rally in remembrance of Emmett Till.

The Jaycees Christmas Parade scheduled for Saturday was canceled "out of an abundance of caution," according to a statement shared on Facebook in which organizers said they were working "to come up with another date for the parade."

"The safety of our participants and spectators is ALWAYS are main focus. We have been in constant communication with law enforcement and have felt, all week, that we could provide a safe, fun event. With this latest information we knew that postponing was our best option," the statement said.

The SoKY Marketplace's Mistletoe Market in Bowling Green was also canceled "due to events beyond our control," the organization said on Facebook, in a move to "ensure the safety of vendors and patrons."

In a joint video statement shared early Saturday morning, officers from the Bowling Green Police Department and the Warren County Sheriff's Office said there was a threat to the protest scheduled at noon on Saturday.

"Late this evening, we learned of a threat to these protesters," Warren County Sheriff Brett Hightower said. "The specific threat is threatening to shoot anyone who is protesting and anyone helping the protesters."

Hightower said authorities had not yet been "able to determine the validity" of the threat at that time. BGPD Chief Michael Delaney said the two offices are working with the Kentucky State Police, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security "to determine the origin of the threat."

At least three groups had been planning to protest simultaneously at the city's justice center, Delaney said. Despite other cancellations, the protest proceeded as planned on Saturday, according to multiple reports.

According to WNKY, the protest was to demand justice for Emmett Till, the 14-year-old who was brutally lynched in 1955 in Mississippi after a white woman, Carolyn Bryant Donham, accused Till of whistling at her.

Till was subsequently killed by Bryant Donham's husband and his half-brother. When Till's mangled body was pulled from the Tallahatchie River, his mother demanded an open casket funeral in Chicago in what became a key moment of the Civil Rights movement.

The men who killed Till, Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam, were acquitted of charges related to Till's death, never faced prison time, and have since died, according to PBS. Bryant Donham, now 89, was never charged and has been living quietly in Bowling Green, according to WNKY.

Despite renewed efforts to investigate Bryant Donham, a grand jury in August declined to indict her on charges of kidnapping and manslaughter, Insider previously reported.

Saturday's protest in honor of Till lasted roughly four hours as demonstrators demanded Bryant Donham's arrest, WNKY reported. Some attendees were armed, WBKO reported.


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