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.”