#PointerGate Isn’t Over: News Station Doubles Down On Accusations

Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

The Minnesota television station under fire for its report accusing Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges of flashing “gang signs” in a photo is unshaken by all the criticism it has received.

KSTP doubled down on its original accusations in a new report that aired Thursday night. The news station switched its focus from Hodges to Navell Gordon, the man it previously identified only as the “criminal” who posed with the mayor, and revealed details about his criminal history the station said it purposefully left out of its first report.

“Because others have made Gordon the focus, [KSTP] feels it necessary to provide additional context on his recent history,” reporter Steven Tellier said.

KSTP reported that Gordon was arrested on Aug. 2 for aggravated robbery, citing an arrest report. Gordon was working as a volunteer for the charity Neighborhoods Organizing For Change (NOC) at the time and was on probation for previous felonies, according to the news outlet.

The news station also displayed photos from an Instagram account under the name Montana Therealchief, which police believe to be Gordon’s “street name.” A photo of a black man posing with a gun and telling police to come find him was posted to that account four days before Gordon’s arrest, according to KSTP.


A photo posted by Montana Therealchief (@montanatherealchief) on

The Instagram account also contains several photos of a man making the same pointing gesture as Gordon does in the photo with Hodges.

KSTP reiterated in its latest report that police believe Hodges making the pointing gesture could have dangerous consequences for the public and for law enforcement, regardless of whether she was aware of those consequences.

“[KSTP] admits, and reported, that the poses struck by Hodges and Gordon appear to be playful — simple pointing — and it’s hard to understand why such a seemingly innocuous photo could be potentially dangerous,” Tellier said. “But police say the mere existence of it could put the public, and possibly police, in danger.”

Hodges herself addressed the controversy right before KSTP’s broadcast Thursday night. She speculated that the head of the local police union spoke to KSTP about the photo to prevent her from “working to raise the standards of police culture and accountability.”

“It could be that he objects to the community policing and relationship-building measures that I am acting on, and attempted to use this non-story to discredit this work,” she wrote in a blog post.

If it was at all unclear where KSTP stood on that issue, its latest report ended on this note:

“[KSTP] has a history of reporting on police abuses and successes,” anchor Leah McClean said. “But we believe this is an example of police simply doing their job to protect the community.”

Watch KSTP’s report below:

h/t CityPages

Latest Livewire
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: