Three Ole Miss students could face a possible federal investigation after they posed with guns in front of a shot-up Emmett Till sign in Tallahatchie County.
Jerry Mitchell, the founder of the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting, says they obtained a copy of the photo and complaint to Ole Miss, then got to work.
“We started tracking it down,” said Mitchell. “It was a student named Ben LeClere who posted this on his Instagram account, and tagged a guy named John Lowe so two of the three had guns basically.”
Mitchell says they couldn’t be reached for comment. He says the Kappa Alpha fraternity has suspended the three students. Ole Miss has not.
Now the U.S. Attorney of the Northern District of Mississippi has pushed the information to the civil rights division of the U.S. Justice Department.
Bullet holes fill the sign. Mitchell says it’s not known if they were just standing there for the picture or fired shots at the sign.
Patrick Weems with the Emmett Till Interpretive Center says after they found out about the Instagram post in March, they went out and took down the sign. They’re even working to get a bullet proof marker since it’s been vandalized in the past.
“We’re hoping that will deter people both physically and symbolically and be there for the long haul,” said Weems.
They plan to have the new sign ready in October.
A spokesperson of Ole Miss sent us a statement involving this case.
“While the image is offensive, it did not present a violation of university code of conduct. It occurred off campus and was not part of a university-affiliated event. We support the actions made by the Kappa Alpha Order leadership in suspending the students involved.”
The university police department reported the image to the FBI, but the bureau declined to investigate further because it said the photo did not pose a specific threat.