The FBI in Peace and War in Mississippi
The flurry over the flag quickly became secondary to a much more serious problem by Southern standards: charges of citizen harassment by FBI agents, which were growing increasingly widespread and increasingly vehement. When several suspects entered the hospital after being grilled by the FBI, Mississippi politicians began demanding an investigation of the FBI, arguing without any sense of irony that the agents had violated the civil rights of the people they questioned. As a result, the initial purposes of the investigation became lost, momentarily, in a cloud of invective.
Outwardly ignoring these charges, the determined lawmen began following up the discovery of the body. While Parker was buried and the storm over the flag rose and subsided, the FBI and the highway patrol continued their investigation. Since lynching was not a federal crime, the Justice Department had to identify the mob and prove it had crossed the Mississippi-Louisiana border. Otherwise, Parker's death was a simple case of murder, not punishable under federal law. Federal officials had to have credible evidence of interstate flight to have jurisdiction and an eventual conviction under the Lindbergh law.★____________________