Mayor Roasts Police Who Accused Her Of Flashing ‘Gang Signs’

In the week since a Minnesota television station aired a segment accusing Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges of flashing a “gang sign” in a photo where she stands next to a “criminal,” the news outlet has been so widely ridiculed that it sparked a hashtag, #PointerGate, and grabbed the attention of Jon Stewart.

Hodges herself finally addressed the dust-up Thursday night and promised that she’s “not going to stop pointing.”

Local TV station KTSP’s report had quoted law enforcement officials who expressed outrage that the mayor would flash “gang signs” with a black man they insisted was a convicted felon, going as far as to suggest that Hodges may “incite gang violence.”

In a post on her blog, Hodges reiterated that the man she posed with in the photo was a volunteer helping with get-out-the-vote efforts and that their hand gestures were exactly what they looked like — an awkward pointing pose.

Hodges laid out a few reasons why she thought prominent Minneapolis police officials may have condemned her innocent photo op: that they want her to stop pointing for the sake of the community’s safety, that they want her to stop interacting with the public to preclude contact with people who have a criminal history, or that they want her to stop standing next to black men.

“I point a lot. Lots of people point,” she wrote of the first option. “The President. Bill Clinton. Stephen Colbert. Babies. It is the earliest form of human communication. I’m not going to stop pointing.”

Hodges dismissed those options one by one until she hit on a fourth possible explanation that she thought was the real impetus behind KTSP’s “non-story.”

“It could be that the head of the police union wants me to stop working to raise the standards of police culture and accountability,” she wrote. “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. I share the public’s speculation that this is the real option.”

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

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