"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 judgment," Jasper Mayor David O'Mary told ABC News Monday, noting that the concern over the hand gesture was first raised by local residents who saw the photo.
— Stephen Quinn (@StephenQ3340) July 16, 2018
However, according to others, the hand gesture is simply a reference to a children's game called the "circle game." The purpose of creating the "OK" hand gesture is to draw a person's gaze to it. If the person looks at the circle, you can hit them with your fist. In many parts of the world, the gesture is synonymous with the with the word "OK" and is used to indicate that agreement or that all is well.
The gesture is performed by touching the tips of your forefinger and thumb together in an "O" shape, extending the other three fingers out straight and separating them.
"It's a kid game. Going around and hitting everybody when you see it," one local resident told ABC Monday.
The four unidentified officers who made the hand gesture are part of the city's drug enforcement task force and will be suspended for two weeks, according to O'Mary. They will only lose one week of pay.
"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," O'Mary added, ABC reported Monday.
According to the Anti-Defamation League, an organization with the stated goal of stopping the defamation of Jewish people and securing justice and fair treatment for all, the "OK" gesture is not necessarily a white supremacist hand sign.
"Has the simple thumb-and-forefinger ‘OK' hand gesture become a white supremacist hand sign? Well, no, it hasn't, but you are likely to hear just the opposite from social media, thanks to the latest hoax from members of notorious website 4chan," the Anti-Defamation League says on its website.
"The ‘OK' hand gesture hoax originated in February 2017 when an anonymous 4channer announced ‘Operation O-KKK,' telling other members that ‘we must flood Twitter and other social media websites… claiming that the OK hand sign is a symbol of white supremacy,'" the blog post continues.
"The originator and others also suggested useful hashtags to help spread the hoax, such as #PowerHandPrivilege and #NotOkay. ‘Leftists have dug so deep down into their lunacy,' wrote the poster. ‘We must force [them] to dig more, until the rest of society ain't going anywhere near that s***.'"