Things That Matter

Students Under Investigation After Flashing White Power Symbols On National TV During Army/Navy Football Game

The United States Military Academy has opened a formal investigation into whether Army cadets and Navy midshipmen flashed white power symbols during a nationally televised broadcast of the Army-Navy football game Saturday. At least three individuals flashed the upside-down “ok” hand gesture, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as a hate symbol meant to signify “white power.” Footage of the gestures went viral on Twitter as folks circulated allegations that the military students were flashing white power symbols on nationally televised media “because they fully understand that most people in the dominant society share their views, and there will be no serious punishment against them.” President Trump attended the game and visited both locker rooms before the start of the match.

“The United States Military Academy is fully committed to developing leaders of character who embody the Army values,” Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, The United States Military Academy’s superintendent, said in a statement. Meanwhile, Naval Academy officials appointed a preliminary inquiry officer to head up the internal investigation. 

Twitter is calling for the expulsion of the students who flashed the symbol, which seemed especially telling when flashed behind the head of a black cadet.

CREDIT: @BIGKAHUNAVAN / TWITTER

Two cadets clearly flash white power hand signals; one of them does it right behind the head of a black cadet. This is on live TV at the Army-Navy game. The @NavalAcademy should kick these students out,” one Twitter user called out. Another person wants to expel them and fine them for the taxpayer dollars that went toward their education thus far. “Imagine how these young black men will feel when they see this footage of their classmates flashing white power signals directly behind their heads. This is shameful and horrific behavior,” comments another user. 

Meanwhile, others are saying that the gestures are far more sophomoric. “IT’S THE FREAKING CIRCLE GAME!,” tweeted one POC. The alleged game is based on tricking someone into looking at the hand gesture which would allow you to playfully punch that person. If you ever played the VW Beetle game as a kid, it’s pretty similar. Others don’t buy it. “Right behind the head of the black guy? Come on…” asks one user. “I ain’t buying it either. If it were true, the black guy or other minorities would be playing the “game” as well. Funny, the “game” signal givers hands are NEVER BROWN. Why’s that now?” asks another Twitter user.

That said, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) details a much more insidious and increasingly common use of the “O.K.” hand gesture that began in 2017.

CREDIT: @GININATEACUP1 / TWITTER

Both the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and Anti-Defamation League have described the symbol as hate speech. White nationalists first started using the symbol because of how it creates a “W” and a “P” to denote “white power.” In 2017, internet gateway to the alt-right, 4chan, started disseminating the symbol as a way to “trigger liberals.” SPLC says that the symbol is a “deliberate attempt to “trigger liberals” into overreacting to a gesture so widely used that virtually anyone has plausible deniability built into their use of it in the first place.” According to SPLC, the hoax started when the following post went viral: “We must flood twitter and other social media websites with spam, claiming that the OK hand signal is a symbol of white supremacy. Make fake accounts with basic white girl names and type shit like: OMG that’s so truuuuu…” It seems to be working. 

Before the 4chan hoax went viral and spread to anyone who was simply anti-liberal, it was used by alt-right figures and white nationalists. In fact, the white supremacist who murdered over 50 worshippers in the Christchurch mosque flashed the symbol in court.

Plausible deniability remains the crux of the issue. The “O.K.” signal is so ubiquitous, it makes it difficult to prove malicious intent.

CREDIT: @HAMDIA_AHMED / TWITTER

Still, at least three different young men flashed the symbol on national television this weekend, knowing President Trump was in the audience. Several Trump supporters have expressed glee in using the symbol simply because of its underlying intent to prove liberals and minorities as triggered.

Military officials feel its “inappropriate” to speculate any further on the students’ intent while the investigation is underway. 

CREDIT: @HAMDIA_AHMED / TWITTER

The SPLC cites the use of the “O.K.” hand gesture as a ploy to “trigger” liberals as participation in a “toxic subculture.” The Center cites such a troll as someone with a “direct gateway not just to the alt-right, but also to even more poisonous cultures such as that of woman-hating “incels.” The Center says that “it’s easy” for a simple “troll” to morph into a white supremacist surreptitiously signaling your presence to other white supremacists.

READ: A Family At Universal Studios Had Their Trip Ruined By A Character From ‘Despicable Me’ Who Flashed A White Power Symbol

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Latino Man Whose Wife Died In Atlanta Spa Was Handcuffed, ‘Treated Like A Suspect’

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Latino Man Whose Wife Died In Atlanta Spa Was Handcuffed, ‘Treated Like A Suspect’

As we continue to learn more about the attack on Atlanta’s Asian-American community that left eight dead, we also are learning about Mario González – a survivor of the attack who was treated like a suspect by the Cherokee Sheriff Department.

Despite having lost his wife in the gunfire, police refused to share that news with González as he was handcuffed for hours amid the chaotic scene that was unfolding in the Atlanta suburbs.

A survivor of the Atlanta spa attacks says he was treated like a suspect instead of a victim.

The Latino man and husband who survived the Atlanta spa shootings that killed his wife says cops treated him like a suspect instead of a grieving victim — keeping him handcuffed for hours without telling him his spouse was dead.

“They had me at the police station for all that time until they investigated who was responsible or what had happened,” Mario González said during an interview with the Spanish-language news site Mundo Hispanico. “In the end, they told me my wife had died.

“They knew I was her husband,” Gonzalez said. “Then they told me she was dead when I wanted to know before. I don’t know, maybe because I’m Mexican,” he said. “Because the truth is that they treated me very badly.”

Law enforcement hasn’t responded to the allegations but are already facing severe backlash.

Representatives for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment on Sunday, but the accusations leveled by Mr. González come after the agency had already faced scrutiny after a spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office described the gunman as having “a really bad day.”

The spokesman, Capt. Jay Baker, was no longer the office’s public representative on the case, and the sheriff, Frank Reynolds, apologized and defended Captain Baker as not intending to disrespect the victims or their families. “We regret any heartache Captain Baker’s words may have caused,” Sheriff Reynolds said.

González and his wife had been on a date night when the massacre took place.

The couple had arrived to Young’s Asian Massage for a fun date night, where they’d both enjoy a relaxing massage. They arrived shortly before the shooting started, Mr. González said in the video interview, and they were ushered into separate rooms for their massages.

Mr. González had met Ms. Yaun at a Waffle House restaurant, where he was a customer and she was a server. Ms. Yaun had been a single mother, raising a 13-year-old son. The couple married last year and had a daughter, who is now 8 months old. “What I need most right now is support,” Mr. González said in the interview.

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Racist Officers in Florida Filed a False Report Against a Latino Man After Assaulting Him

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Racist Officers in Florida Filed a False Report Against a Latino Man After Assaulting Him

Credit: Lake Wales Police Department

While deaths at the hands of police officers have fallen since the racial reckoning of last summer, there is still a long way to go. All it takes is a few bad apple police officers to erode trust between communities and law enforcement. Take, for example, a recent incident in Lake Wales, Fla. Two racist officers assaulted a Latino man named Chris Cordero before filing false charges against him.

According to local reports, two racist officers lied on their police report when they accused Chris Cordero of attacking them.

The story is truly shocking. According to Chris Cordero, 37, the entire incident with the racist officers began when he was driving home from Publix with medicine for his young son. Cordero became wary when he noticed a police cruiser was following him for a long time. So Cordero stopped to ask the police officer what was going on.

“I get out of the vehicle to ask him what’s going on because he’s been following me for a while,” Cordero told WFTS Tampa Bay. And here is where Cordero’s story and the police officer’s story differ.

Cordero told reporters that Officer Colt Black “requested that I go to the back of my car and put my hands on the trunk. Because he wants to search me to see if I have a weapon.”

It was then, Cordero says, that Officer Black “sucker punched” him on the back of the head.

“He sucker-punched me from the back, right here, cracked a piece of my tooth out. I landed on the ground,” Cordero said. Cordero says that it was then that a second officer, Officer Travis Worley, arrived. The two men began to assault him while he was on the ground, handcuffed.

“They both jumped on me and beat me up really bad,” Cordero said. Cordero also alleges that Officer Worley called him a “spic n—-r”, “a piece of sh-t” and told him to “go back to New York.”

The police report told a very different story. The cops alleged that “Cordero immediately exited the driver door and began to charge towards my patrol vehicle.”

Officer Colt Black said he “delivered an elbow strike to the left side of Cordero’s head” thinking Cordero was “reaching for a weapon.”

They charged Cordero with resisting arrest, assault on a law enforcement officer and making a death threat to a law enforcement officer. The charges could’ve landed Cordero in jail for years.

As soon as Cordero was released on bail, he revisited the neighborhood and went door-to-door hoping to find home surveillance footage of the incident. Luckily, he found some.

The footage clearly showed Cordero waiting by his car for around 30 seconds before Officer Black approached him and assaulted him. Cordero submitted the footage to the police. Officer Black claimed he wrote the false report because his “perception was altered due to the high stress of the incident.”

The State’s Attorney’s Office, immediately dropped the charges against Cordero. The Lake Wells attorney revealed that this wasn’t the first time members of the community complained about these particular officers.

“These officers who have issues with power and control target people who they know won’t be believed,” she said.

Since the footage came to light, the racist officers have been reprimanded. Officer Colt Black resigned. Officer Travis Worley is on administrative leave.

The two racist officers have a history of complaints against them. Members of the community have accused them of blatant racism and excessive force.

A Black female officer claimed Officer Worley used a racial slur while on a call–a claim he denied. He later tried to have the woman fired, saying “the longer she is allowed to continue working here, the more of a chance she will have to harm good officers and their families.”

Another complaint was filed by a local high school principal, who heard Officer Worley use a racial slur in front of students. “Quite simply,” the principal wrote, “he is not the same caliber as the other officers I know are–not even close.”

Despite the multiple complaints and investigations surrounding him, the police department always cleared Officer Worley of wrongdoing. He was even named “Officer of the Year” in 2019.

Chris Cordero hopes this incident with the racist officers prompts the city to make body cameras mandatory on police officers.

“How many more innocent people are sitting in jail?” he asked WFTS News. “How many people in the community are scared to come forward about these officers?”

“All police are not trying to intimidate people. That’s not the case,” said Lake Wales City Commissioner Terrye Howell. “But when you have one or two bad apples, then they’re spilling that bad apple part to other officers, then that bunch starts growing.”

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