The FBI might be looking anew into the assassination 38 years ago of Seattle civil rights leader Edwin Pratt. Then again, it might not. The FBI won't comment and "They don't even tell us what they're doing, and we're their partner," says Booth Gunter, spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama.
Nonetheless, Gunter say the SPLC, which has teamed with the FBI as part of the agency's re-investigation of civil rights cold cases, has provided the FBI with details of the Pratt shooting reported in Seattle Weekly.
The director of the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle and father of two children, Pratt, 38, was likely murdered by three white men on the doorstep of his Shoreline home in 1969. Although the crime was never officially solved, two of the hired murderers are dead (the third was never identified). Still unknown is who paid the money.
Also in question is the FBI's role in the original investigation, perhaps sidetracked by the Nixon White House. Federal documents show that two days after the shooting, then-U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell wrote to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover that "certain black groups" were saying Pratt was killed by white racists and suggestively asked: "Does your bureau have any information to the contrary, and, if so, is there any way it might be publicized through local police or otherwise."
Copies of the Weekly's documents - obtained under a records request from the FBI's own files - and a copy of the story were recently forwarded to the FBI, says Gunter. "This is an important case and we'd like to see it solved," he said.