Conservatives and a CNN iReport claimed that African-American Missouri Highway Patrol Captain Rob Johnson was in a gang after he flashed a hand gesture in support of one specific group.
The problem began with an iReport, which CNN has now scrubbed, that claimed Johnson flashed a gang sign in some photographs:
Unfortunately for CNN, that particular hand gesture was not a gang sign–though, given the fervency with which many media organizations (including CNN to a large degree) have worked to demonize protesters, and one CNN host’s brilliant suggestion that the white police officers turn “water cannons” on the African-American demonstrators, it is unsurprising that the news organization would take that stance.
The Washington Post quickly debunked CNN’s blatant and easily-disproven lie.
Capt. Johnson is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, a black fraternity that was formed in 1911 at Indiana University in Bloomington, and the hand sign you see in the pictures below is a Kappa greeting. The Kappas are part of the Divine Nine or the National Pan-Hellenic Council, the nine historically black fraternities and sororities that include Delta Sigma Theta, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Alpha Phi Alpha, Omega Psi Phi, Phi Beta Sigma, Zeta Phi Beta, Sigma Gamma Rho and Iota Phi Theta, none of which are gangs.
However, facts don’t matter much to conservatives, who took this piece of misinformation and ran with it. Conservative propaganda echo chamber Moonbattery wrote,
Once they received proper information, the article was updated to indicate that, “I’m told Johnson’s hand gesture is from the fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi. I’m also told it is a gang symbol that translates to “What’s up Blood?” Like Fox News says, “We report, you decide.”
Other racists were less polite. “In a sane country where the holy negro isn’t worshipped the ground he walks on, this man would not in any shape or form be put in charge of a volatile situation, with a clear conflict of interest,” one poster wrote. “But his n*ggerness only worked for a night. Just like Obama, nothing will work for long in the appeasement of the apes,” another added.
Just to ensure that there’s no confusion, Captain Ron Johnson is not a gang member. If you are willing to interpret nearly any hand gesture made by an African-American as a “gang sign,” you’re probably a racist.