Va. FF under investigation for allegedly making white supremacist hand gesture

An Alexandria firefighter is on paid leave after he was filmed making the “OK” hand gesture, which some consider to be a hate symbol

By Rachel Engel

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A firefighter is on leave pending an investigation into an obscene hand gesture he allegedly made in a news interview while in uniform.

During an interview with Fox 5, an Alexandria firefighter was witnessed flashing the “OK” hand-gesture, which has been described by the Anti-Defamation League as a hate symbol, J99news reported.

Fire Chief Corey Smedley said that it does not matter if the firefighter thought the gesture was a joke.

“Just because someone might have thought things were a joke, it is not something that is up to our values within the department,” he said. “So we must first and foremost make every effort to preserve the integrity and trust of society, and jokes are not something that is part of our mission.”

In a statement on Twitter, IAFF Local 2141 said the union has a “zero-tolerance” policy regarding offensive actions.

“IAFF Local 2141 is a diverse and inclusive workforce and union that works to promote an equitable and inclusive work environment,” the statement read. “We hold ALL of our members to the high personal conduct standard that the Alexandria community both expect and deserve. IAFF Local 2141 has a zero-tolerance policy towards any actions that can be interpreted as an attack on any member of our community. We are currently investigating the actions of this employee and will act swiftly upon determining his intent.”

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