Alabama Officers Suspended Over Hate Symbol

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Four officers from the Jasper, Al., Police Department have been suspended after making and upside-down “OK” sign with their hands in a post-arrest photo taken by a Jasper Daily Mountain Eagle photographer, reports AL.com. Some people have claimed the gesture is actually a hate symbol that means “white power.” The photo was posted in a story about a recent drug arrest in Jasper. Jasper Mayor David O’Mary said that in addition to the suspensions, “we will require some diversity training.”

Last year, the Anti-Defamation League said the hand sign is not a hate symbol. A post from the ADL blog claims the rhetoric behind the “OK” was created in a social media hoax that began on 4chan. “The ‘OK’ hand gesture hoax originated in February 2017 when an anonymous 4channer announced ‘Operation O-KKK,’ telling other members that ‘we must flood Twitter and other social media websites…claiming that the OK hand sign is a symbol of white supremacy,'” according to the blog. The blog post accused 4chan users of trying to spread other white supremacy hoaxes and encouraged people to be “skeptical” when someone says a symbol is a new hate symbol.

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