White nationalists caught trying to record video in front of Emmett Till memorial

The Emmett Till Memorial Commission executive director said the group, carrying a neo-Confederate flag, appeared to be making a propaganda video.

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By Doha Madani

A group of people carrying a white nationalist flag were caught on camera Saturday attempting to record a video in front of the Emmett Till memorial in Sumner, Mississippi.

Patrick Weems, executive director of the Emmett Till Memorial Commission, told NBC News that the group was captured on camera by a new surveillance system that was updated when the bulletproof memorial was dedicated on Oct. 19.

"This is the first incident we’ve seen of what appears to be white nationalists making a propaganda video," Weems said.

One man can be heard in the video identifying the sign as a monument representing the "civil rights movement for blacks."

"What we want to know is, where are all of the white people?" he continued.

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In another clip, the group can be seen scrambling for their cars after sirens go off, a newly added security feature.

A clip of the video was posted to the Sumner Courthouse and Emmett Till Interpretive Center Facebook page on Saturday.

Since the incident, the site has been monitored by the Tallahatchie County Sheriff's Office.

The group was carrying a white flag with a black St. Andrews cross, a symbol authorities said were connected to a neo-Confederate group called the League of the South in Alabama, according to Weems.

Southern Poverty Law Center identifies the League of the South as a hate group that has "increasingly embraced violence, criticized perceived Jewish power and warned black people that they would be defeated in a future race war."

Emmett Till was 14 years old when he was abducted, tortured and brutally murdered by two white men in 1955 after the teen was accused of whistling at a white woman. Till was visiting family in the area when he was kidnapped and then found dead days later in the Tallahatchie River.

Signs memorializing Till have been vandalized and shot at multiple times since the first marker was put up in 2007, according to the commission. A bulletproof sign, the fourth Till memorial in the area, was dedicated on Oct. 19, to replace a sign that had been "riddled with 20 bullet holes."

The memorial commission launched the Emmett Till Memory Project the same day, an app that uses GPS markers at historic sites to tell the story of Emmett Till. The landowner who owned the farm by the river where Till's body was found has donated the land, where the memorial commission hopes to raise funds to create another memorial site.

Weems told NBC News that the organization was proud to work with the community to keep the legacy of Emmett Till alive.

"We want to respond to this hate speech by continuing to do this work."

Associated Press contributed.