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AL cops suspended, lose pay after using ‘circle game’ hand gesture in photo

The hand gesture made when playing the "circle game." (Hm2k/WikiCommons)
July 17, 2018

The Jasper Police Department in Alabama suspended four officers for two weeks and one week of no pay after posing for a photo and making a hand gesture that some said was racist, but that is commonly associated with the “circle game.”

Jasper Mayor David O’Mary said some people think that the hand gesture suggests “white power.”

However, many disagree and say that the hand gesture, which is popular among kids, is used in the “circle game” where kids try to trick others to look at the hand gesture displayed below their waist, Fox 17 reported.

One Jasper resident said: “It’s a kid game. Going around and hitting everybody when you see it.”

The photo was published in the Daily Mountain Eagle last week after an arrest by the department’s drug terrorism task force in the Frisco community.

The mayor set up the photo to make sure the four officers got recognition for their work.

The mayor has yet to speak to the officers or allow them to explain what they meant by the gesture, the Fox affiliate reported.

“That’s contradictory to how we run our city. That’s not our mindset. That’s not the way we do things and they used poor judgement,” the mayor said.

The officer’s names have not been made public.

They are suspended for two weeks and will lose a week of pay.

The mayor said: “We talked to two senior African-American law enforcement officers that are on the City of Jasper’s payroll and they think it’s fair, and that’s a pretty good sounding board.”