The American Fork Police Department (AFPD) has caved and deleted a photo, posted with good intention, featuring a civilian waving the OK sign. The department also apologized for the photo.
On Friday, a police officer with the AFPD was out patrolling when he met a group of people standing outside waving US flags in support of service members. He took a selfie with the group and posted it on the department’s Facebook page.
“These awesome individuals were out today (and some yesterday) waving American Flags at Robinson Park for those service members we lost,” the post read. “We wanted to stop by and tell them thank you! What a great community we live in!”
The department deleted the photo as soon after it was posted after complaints started to come in.
On Sunday, the department addressed the photo, acknowledging the gesture “is offensive to many people.”
“We do not condone such behavior, so the post was immediately removed as soon as we realized it existed in the photo,” AFPD said in a statement Sunday. “We apologize to anyone who saw the photo before we took it down. Please know that American Fork Police Department would not have posted that photo if we realized it contained that gesture/sign.”
It’s been a couple of years since the OK hand sign started to be falsely associated with white supremacy, after being memed into reality as a joke by 4chan users.
According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a pro-censorship campaign group, the “use of the okay symbol in most contexts is entirely innocuous and harmless.” But, the sign has in recent times been used as a “sincere expression of white supremacy” by some people.
“[S]omeone who uses the symbol cannot be assumed to be using the symbol in either a trolling or, especially, white supremacist context unless other contextual evidence exists to support the contention,” the ADL states on its website.