Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges is under scrutiny for a picture she appears in with a convicted felon that portrays the pair playfully pointing at each other in what some have dubbed the “most racist story of 2014.”
Local law enforcement officials told ABC affiliate KTSP the mayor and the criminal are flashing gang signs.
The man in the photo is Navell Gordon, who is currently under supervised release after being convicted of illegal possession of a firearm.
The mayor’s office told KTSP that Gordon, who is now an activist with Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, is well regarded by the group he works for and that the mayor likes to meet with many people who organize on the north side of the city.
Police officials, however, don’t think it’s that innocent.
Is she “going to support gangs in the city or cops?” police union president John Delmonico asked.
“She’s been around long enough,” he said to KTSP. “When you have the mayor of a major city, with a known criminal, throwing up gang signs, that’s terrible.”
Michael Quinn, a retired Minneapolis policeman, said it was “disappointing because it puts police officers at risk.”
When asked about the mayor’s response that she was simply pointing at Gordon,Quinn said, “She can’t be that naive. I cannot imagine.”
“She is legitimizing these people. She is legitimizing gangs who are killing our children in Minneapolis and I just can’t believe it. It hurts,” he said.
Others found the accusations ridiculous.
“There is no gang sign associated with that,” VJ Smith, the national president of MADDADS told the AP. “It would be ridiculous for a mayor to put up a gang sign. That’s not what she wants to do.”
The executive director of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, Anthony Newby, said the story was a “slanderous hit piece” and contended that the mockery of it on Twitter backed up his claim.
To his point, Twitter did go wild with the photo using the hashtag #pointergate and showing photos of other famous people making similar gestures.
— not a white man (@NotAllBhas) November 7, 2014
— EdenBrower (@edenbrower) November 8, 2014
— Javier Morillo (@javimorillo) November 7, 2014
— AmyElizabeth (@AmySchrempp) November 7, 2014
— dan kauppi (@danielkauppi) November 7, 2014
— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) November 7, 2014
— digby (@digby56) November 7, 2014
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