The news of the hazing of an initiate into a graduate chapter of the Black fraternity Omega Psi Phi, popularly known as Ques, rocked members of the Divine 9 community. The now identified initiate, Tory Gates, 45, was allegedly struck 200 times with a paddle and bare hands as part of a membership ritual that left him hospitalized. Now five members of the Alpha Upsilon graduate chapter in Brooklyn, New York, have been arrested.
Steve Liverpool, 47, and Keston Frank, 34, were the first publically identified members arrested by police according to the New York Post. Liverpool is employed as a kindergarten teacher and was reassigned to a position that does not allow him to interact with children. This decision was made after the nature of his arrest, according to the New York Department of Education. Frank is an employee of the Department of Social Services and his arrest has surprised many affiliated with the department. Both Liverpool and Frank were hit with assault and hazing charges in the incident.
Police arrested Kwesi Capps, 49, Selvin Hammick, 32, and Hakeem Johnson, 31, on Dec. 18, 2018, and they also face assault and hazing charges. According to an NYPD police complaint obtained by the New York Post, police stated, “The defendants, acting in concert with each other and other unapprehended individuals did strike [the victim] about the body, chest and back with defendants’ hands during an initiation ceremony. Further … the defendants, acting in concert with each other, did strike the informant about the buttocks and testicles with a fraternity paddle between 150-200 times.”
The beating that Tory Gates took that night to be a Que was brutal. According to police Gates suffered, “swelling, substantial pain and bruising” about his “buttocks, testicles, chest and back.” In addition, the beating caused a condition known as rhabdomyolysis. This condition is caused by a breakdown of muscle tissue in the injured area and caused Gates to temporarily lose the ability to urinate without a catheter.
Chris O’Neal, a lawyer with Omega’s office of the Grand Council, said in a statement: “While the external police-led investigation continues, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. continues to cooperate with the authorities. If true, this situation is outrageous, uncalled for and inconsistent with the founding principles and purpose of our beloved fraternity. Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. does not condone hazing or brutality in membership selection.”