Will FBI Finally Reveal Mobster's Role in Historic Civil Rights Case?

Greg Scarpa in his prime...
The FBI's website says that it will offer "a closer look at the fate of the missing workers and the FBI’s role" in the infamous civil rights case known as "Mississippi Burning."

We wonder if they will finally admit the role Greg Scarpa Sr. played in the case.

This has already been confirmed by none other than former FBI agent Lin DeVecchio, Scarpa's chief handler, in his ironically titled memoir, "We're Going to Win This Thing."

He was the agent under fire for a time for supposedly giving too much information to Scarpa. When a key witness was discredited, the trial was tossed out -- by the D.A., not the judge. We will never know if he was guilty or not.

Gregory Scarpa, Sr. (May 8, 1928 – June 4, 1994), a fierce capo in the Colombo crime family, was also known as "The Grim Reaper." Since around 1960 this lifelong wiseguy was a top informant for the FBI.

He also did indeed help the Feds solve the 1960s murders of civil rights workers down in Mississippi. DeVecchio confirmed the role Scarpa played in finding the three murdered civil rights workers -- a historical moment in the Civil Rights movement on which the film "Mississippi Burning" was based.

"... I learned from a confidential source that in 1964 Top Echelon informant Greg Scarpa was enlisted in a Klan case... The FBI brought Greg Scarpa to the [Klan member involved in the murders considered most likely to turn]." Scarpa "blackjacked" him, and took him to remote cabin, where Scarpa "convinced him to cooperate by putting a gun in his mouth... giving him an option: 'Tell me the fucking truth or I will blow your brains out.'" The Klansman told the truth.

Scarpa was Colombo boss Carmine Persico's chief enforcer, doling out the proverbial dirt nap to whoever defied the administration before dying of AIDS, contracted from a crew member during a blood transfusion.

So far, the FBI is not mentioning a word about Scarpa:

Fifty years ago, our country was in the midst of a struggle to extend full rights and liberties to all of its citizens. On the national stage, the long legislative fight on the landmark Civil Rights Act was nearing a conclusion. Regionally, the push to roll back odious Jim Crow laws led to demonstrations between opponents of the legal discrimination and supporters of the status quo.
In Mississippi, the center of the civil rights effort in 1964 was the Freedom Summer, in which committed activists and local residents encouraged African-Americans to register to vote—fewer than seven percent of those eligible were registered at the time. The Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), a coalition of civil rights groups, arranged the drive, and orientation for its registrars had begun in mid-June.
Michael Schwerner, a 24-year-old social worker, had just started a job with with the Congress on Racial Equality in Mississippi and quickly came to the attention of local Klan members. He had been at the Freedom Summer training in Ohio and was returning to Mississippi with fellow activists Andrew Goodman and James Chaney. Their plan was to visit Mount Zion Church in Neshoba County, which had been burned by the Klan.
Arriving in Philadelphia, Mississippi on June 21, the three were arrested by Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price, who charged Chaney with speeding and held the other two “for investigation.” Though the men were released from custody later that night and set off for their lodgings, they were followed out of town. They never made it to their destination.
Even before that, their friends at COFO had become concerned. Schwerner’s travel plans indicated the three would arrive at their hotel that afternoon. When they missed 4 p.m. check-in, COFO began to try and track their whereabouts, calling around the county throughout the evening. By 10 p.m., around the time they were released, COFO still hadn’t heard from them and relayed their concerns to the local FBI and a Department of Justice representative who was in the area. At that point, though, nothing was known of the three or about what had happened. Without evidence to suspect foul play, there were no grounds yet for FBI involvement.
But in this case, the ramifications were not just a local matter. The voting rights drive in Mississippi and its national implications were clearly on the radars of President Johnson and Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who took great interest in civil rights matters. Although the FBI’s local agent had begun asking about the missing workers on June 22, the Justice Department wanted even more involvement and told the FBI to place additional agents on the case.
By the next day, another 10 agents had been assigned to the case. The FBI received a tip about a burning station wagon seen in the woods off of Highway 21, about 13 miles northeast of Philadelphia—it was the men’s vehicle. Soon after the find, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was advising President Johnson on the case. With no remains found in the car, there was a slim hope that the three might still be found alive. President Johnson informed the Schwerner family and closely followed the FBI’s progress.
The Mississippi Burning, or MIBURN, case quickly became one of the Bureau’s biggest investigations; FBI resources and personnel that moved into Mississippi that summer—including the opening of the new FBI field office in the state capitol—reflected the massive effort. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Improbable Rise of a Gambino Associate Who Married Mafia Royalty

Michael DiLeonardo On the Gotti Reign

Shrewd Sicilian Helms Gambinos, Says Mikie Scars

A(nother) Real-life Wiseguy Played a Mobster on The Sopranos

When the Gambinos Dominated the Mafia's Infiltration of Wall Street

Who Really Killed Tommy DeSimone?

John Gotti at His Rhetorical Greatest

Hoodwinked: Restaurateur on Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares Was a Mobster