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Grand Basileus Tony Knox

April 10, 2015

To men of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated,

Giving honor to God and my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Like you, I sat shaking my head as the television news repeatedly played the video of yet another senseless tragedy - the police shooting death of another unarmed black man. But this one hits much closer to home for those of us in Omega.

Walter L. Scott, the victim in the shooting last week in North Charleston, South Carolina, is the brother of Anthony Scott, an Omega man who was initiated into the Fraternity through Rho Chapter in 1983.

I humbly ask that you keep Brother Scott and his family lifted up in prayer during this difficult time.

I spoke to Brother Scott and expressed our sincere condolences.  Brother Scott said he was appreciative of the support of the brotherhood for him and his family.  He and his family are determined to see this through as they work to seek justice, but equally important, work toward preventing this type of senseless tragedy from ever reoccurring.

A video of the shooting revealed the officer firing eight shots into the back of Walter Scott as he fled following a routine traffic stop.

In response to the shooting, state prosecutors filed murder charges against the officer. The city has fired the officer. Yet, we know that it would be so much better if Walter Scott was alive and at home with his family and the officer was at home with his family.

Brothers, we must remain vigilant and steadfast in support of the Scott family as they work to see justice is done in this case which means nothing less than a conviction on all charges.  We must also support others that have lost loved ones to similar tragedies, because Black Lives Matter.  It is imperative that the reasonable voices asking for community policing, diversity training, body-mounted cameras and community review boards be heard because these sensible changes will only help ensure that justice is being served whenever any violation of law occurs.  Unfortunately, as the video-taped Charleston, South Carolina, police officer repeatedly shooting an unarmed black man in the back as he ran away from him tends to reflect, apparently some misguided officers believe they can take a life without any fear of any consequence whatsoever.

However, must change or else this type of incident may continue to repeat itself. The scales of justice are extremely unbalanced when it comes to justice being served equally, but that will not change if we turn a blind eye to tragic situations that continue for no reason.

We have seen similar tragedies where police officers use lethal force against black men in New York, Cleveland, Ferguson, Missouri, and elsewhere.

Brothers, let us make a difference by encouraging dialogue, engaging groups like the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) and civil rights organizations working on this issue. We should further engage our communities by setting up town hall meetings with local police, lawmakers, prosecutors and city officials.  We must continue to show our support to number of Omega men who are police chiefs, sheriffs, deputies, officers and others working in law enforcement.

Just as Omega has worked tirelessly to reduce black-on-black violence, so must we work to address violent wrongs by law enforcement.

We must all come together, become agents of change and make a difference.  Let’s have the discussions and get the training so that you and yours will know how to communicate and interact with law enforcement.  Until the system is rid of those blinded by hatred and ignorance; we must know how to survive if by chance we are in a similar situation.

My Brothers, we cannot let those who have lost their lives to this new type of lynching be in vain. We must help these families to see it through. Brothers, I believe with all my heart that if we bind ourselves together as one and work with others that want to see this come to an end, we can make this happen.

It takes all of us that care working together as one.

Yours in Omega,

Antonio F. Knox Sr.
40th Grand Basileus

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