Three white fraternity brothers at the University of Mississippi have been suspended by chapter officials and face possible investigation by the Department of Justice after posing with guns in front of a bullet-riddled sign honoring slain civil rights icon Emmett Till.
The Emmett Till sign at the historical site marking the area where Till’s body was recovered in 1955 has been targeted several times by vandals since being erected in 2008.
One of the men posted the photo to his Instagram account in March. It was later deleted -after receiving 274 likes – when reporters began to follow up on it. The image resurfaced this week in a report by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.
Ben LeClere was the Ole Miss student holding a shotgun, according to the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, while John Lowe squatted below the sign and a third unidentified frat member held up an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
All three men pictured in the photo were suspended by the Ole Miss chapter, said Jesse Lyons, assistant executive director of the Kappa Alpha Order’s national office in Lexington, Virginia, according to the Associated Press.
Till, a 14-year-old visiting from Chicago, was lynched, shot and tortured before his death on Aug. 28, 1955, for reportedly whistling at a white woman while visiting relatives in Mississippi. The murder, acquittal and publication of a graphic photograph of Till’s battered body in Jet magazine galvanized the civil rights movement.