Mayor Accused of Flashing Gang Signs After Using Her Pointer Finger to Point

Law enforcement and local news reporters in Minneapolis are absolutely outraged that the Minnesota city’s mayor, Betsy Hodges, dared to pose with a convicted felon and flash “gang signs” in the resulting photo. But did she actually throw up gang signs, and is this guy actually a known gang member? Nope and nope!

The photo at the center of this “scandal” depicts Hodges posing with an unnamed man, whom the local news simply refers to as a “criminal,” with the two pointing at each other, as people sometimes do in pictures and also historic art. It’s a completely harmless hand gesture, one frequently deployed when posing for a photo with a famous person like, say, the mayor of your city. But in Minneapolis, typically innocuous gestures take on a much more sinister meaning — especially when a black guy is involved.

She is legitimizing these people,” one former police officer told the news station. “She is legitimizing gangs who are killing our children in Minneapolis and I just can’t believe it. It hurts.”

Of course, the station doesn’t provide any evidence that the man is actually in a gang. In fact, according to TPM, the unnamed man is trying to start fresh and is getting involved with community organizing — which explains why he was volunteering at an event for a nonprofit called Neighborhoods Organizing for Change.

America: where pointing while black is a crime. At least Twitter is getting some good joke mileage out of it.

Pointergate: Mayor Accused of Making Gang Signs