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College suspends frat members who posed with guns at Emmett Till memorial. Now the students might face a civil rights investigation.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

College suspends frat members who posed with guns at Emmett Till memorial. Now the students might face a civil rights investigation.

Three Ole Miss fraternity members were suspended by their chapter

University of Mississippi fraternity Kappa Alpha chapter suspended three of its members after they shared a social media photo of themselves posing with guns in front of a memorial honoring Emmett Till.

Till, a black teenager, was tortured and lynched in 1955 at the age of 14.

The memorial in question is a sign recognizing the area from which Till's corpse was pulled from the Tallahatchie River.

What are the details?

The photo, which made the rounds on Instagram, featured students Ben LeClere, John Lowe, and an unidentified student posing in front of a Mississippi plaque commemorating Till.

The Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting with ProPublica reported that two of the students were shown holding an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a shotgun.

A complaint filed with the University of Mississippi Office of Student Conduct revealed that while the social media post gained a lot of attention, "no one said a thing" about the fact that the Kappa Alpha brothers were posing in front of the civil rights' icon's monument.

ProPublica reported that the fraternity suspended the three brothers on Wednesday.

Taylor Anderson, president of Ole Miss' Kappa Alpha chapter, issued a statement condemning the brothers' actions.

"The photo is inappropriate, insensitive, and unacceptable," Anderson's statement read. "It does not represent our chapter."

A spokesperson for Ole Miss said the photo was both "offensive" and "hurtful." The school, however, did not denounce the photo, insisting that it did not violate the school's policy because the staging of the picture took place off campus.

The university did, however, refer the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The organization did not deem the picture a "specific threat," and it did not conduct an investigation into the matter.

What else?

The Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting revealed that the students now face possible investigation by the Department of Justice.

U.S. Attorney Chad Lamar of the Northern District of Mississippi said that the information on the offending social media post was referred to the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division for a more in-depth investigation.

"We will be working with them closely," he said on Thursday.

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