La Crosse County sheriff’s deputy appears to flash hand gesture linked to white supremacy in social media post

An image shared of 10 sheriff's deputies at Country Boom included one sergeant making 'okay' gesture, which some say conveys white supremacy.

LA CROSSE (WKBT) — An image of 10 La Crosse County sheriff’s deputies was removed from La Crosse County Sheriff Jeff Wolf’s Facebook page as controversy arose over a deputy’s gesture in the photo.

In the photo, the third deputy from the right, Sgt. Brandon Penzkover, can be seen making the “okay” hand gesture.

Some white supremacists have used the “okay” gesture to symbolize white power, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.  

According to the Anti-Defamation League, caution must be used when evaluating whether the “okay” gesture is being used for racist purposes.

The La Crosse County Sheriff’s Department denies any intent behind Penzkover’s gesture.

Stephanie Seweryn, senior associate regional director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Midwest Region, said  “nothing” in the photo indicates that the gesture is intended to white supremacy.

We have reached out to Sheriff Wolf for comment on why the image was removed if there was no intention behind the gesture pictured in it.

La Crosse resident Michael Reynolds feels the “okay” gesture has an undertone of white supremacy that needs to be dealt with.

“I think we need to address this, ” he said.

Since 2019, the “okay” gesture has been listed in the Anti-Defamation League’s “Hate on Display” symbols database.

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