A bill to assure to persons within the jurisdiction of every State the equal protection of the laws, and punish the crime of lynching
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, for the purposes of this Act, the phrase mob or riotous assemblage, when used in this Act, shall mean an assemblage composed of three or more persons acting in concert, without authority of law, [for the purpose of depriving any person of his life, or doing him physical injury] to kill or injure any person in the custody of any peace officer, with the purpose or consequence of depriving such person of due process of law or the equal protection of the laws.
Sec. 2. If any state or governmental, subdivision thereof fails, neglects, or refuses to provide and maintain protection to the life or person of any individual within its jurisdiction against a mob or riotous assemblage, whether by way of preventing or punishing the acts thereof, such State shall by reason of such failure, neglect, or refusal be deemed to have denied to such person due process of law and the equal protection of the laws of the State, and to the end that the protection guaranteed to persons within the jurisdiction of the United States, may be secured, the provisions of this Act are enacted.
Sec. 3. (a) Any officer or employee of any State or governmental subdivision thereof who is charged with the duty or who possesses the power or authority as such officer or employee to protect the life or person of any individual injured or put to death by any mob or riotous assemblage or any officer or employee of any State or governmental subdivision thereof having any such individual in his [change as a prisoner] custody, who fails, neglects, or refuses to make all diligent efforts to protect such individual from being so injured or being put to death, or any officer or employee of any State or governmental subdivision thereof charged with the duty of apprehending, keeping in custody, or prosecuting any person participating in such mob or riotous assemblage who fails, neglects, or refuses to make all diligent efforts to perform his duty in apprehending, keeping in custody, or prosecuting to final judgment under the laws of such State all persons so participating, shall be guilty of a felony, and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $5,000 or by imprisonment not exceeding five years, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(b) Any officer or employee of any state or governmental subdivision thereof, acting as such officer or employee under authority of State law, having in his custody or control a prisoner, who shall conspire, combine, or confederate with any person who is a member of a mob or riotous assemblage to injure or put such prisoner to death without authority of law, or who shall conspire, combine, or confederate with any person to suffer such prisoner to be taken or obtained from his custody or control [for the purpose of being] to be injured or put to death [without authority of law] by a mob or riotous assemblage shall be guilty of a felony, and those who so conspire, combine, or confederate with such officer or employee shall likewise be guilty of a felony. On conviction the parties participating therein shall be punished by imprisonment of not less than five years or [for life] not more than twenty-five years.
Sec. 4. The District Court of the United States judicial district wherein the person is injured or put to death by a mob or riotous assemblage shall have jurisdiction to try and to punish, in accordance with the laws of the State where the injury is inflicted or the homicide is committed, any and all persons who participate therein: Provided, That it is first made to appear to such court (1) that the officers of the State charged with the duty of apprehending, prosecuting, and punishing such offenders under the laws of the State shall have failed, neglected, or refused to apprehend, prosecute, or punish such offenders; or (2) that the jurors obtainable for service in the State court having jurisdiction of the offense are so strongly opposed to such punishment that there is [no] probability that those guilty of the offense [can be] will not be punished in such State court. A failure for more than thirty days after the commission of such an offense to apprehend or to indict the persons guilty thereof, or a failure diligently to prosecute such persons, shall be sufficient to constitute prima facie evidence of the failure, neglect, or refusal described in the above proviso.
Sec. 5. Any county in which a person is seriously injured or put to death by a mob or riotous assemblage shall [forfeit $10,000, which sum may be recovered by suit therefor in the name of the United States against such county for the use of the family, if any, of the person so put to death; if he had no family then of his dependent parents, if any; otherwise for the use of the United States] be liable to the injured person or the legal representatives of such person for a sum of not less than $2,000 nor more than $10,000 as liquidated damages, which sum may be recovered in a civil action against such county in the United States District Court of the judicial district wherein such person is put to the injury or death. Such action shall be brought and prosecuted by the United States district attorney [of the United States] of the district in the United States District Court for such district. If such [forfeiture] amount awarded be not paid upon recovery of a judgment thereof, such court shall have jurisdiction to enforce payment thereof by levy of execution upon any property of the county, or may otherwise compel payment thereof by mandamus or other appropriate process; and any officer of such county or other person who disobeys or fails to comply with any lawful order of the court in the premises shall be liable to punishment as for contempt and to any other penalty provided by law therefor. The amount recovered shall be exempt from all claims by creditors of the deceased. The amount recovered upon such judgment shall be paid to the injured person, or where death resulted, distributed in accordance with the laws governing the distribution of an intestate decendents assets then in effect in the State wherein such death occurred.
Sec. 6. In the event that any person so put to death shall have been transported by such mob or riotous assemblage from one county to another county during the time intervening between his seizure and putting to death, the county in which he is seized and the county I which he is put to death shall be jointly and severally liable to pay the forfeiture herein provided. Any district judge of the United States District Court of the judicial district wherein any suit or prosecution is instituted under the provisions of this Act, may by order district that such suit or prosecution be tried in any place in such district as he may designate in such order.
Sec. 7. Any act committed in any State or Territory of the United States in violation of the rights of a citizen or subject of a foreign country secured to such citizen or subject by treaty between the United States and such foreign country, which act constitute a like crime against the peace and dignity of the United States, punishable in a like manner in its courts as in the courts of said State or Territory, and able in a like manner in its courts as in the courts of said State or Territory, and may be prosecuted in the courts of the United States, and upon conviction the sentence executed in like manner as sentences upon convictions for crimes under the laws of the United States.]
Sec. 8. If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the remainder of the Act, and the application of such provision to other persons or circumstances, shall not be affected thereby.]