Viral backlash over Kalamazoo officer’s hand gesture caught on camera

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KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A seconds-long interaction between a customer standing outside a local Kalamazoo barber shop and a public safety officer has led to a firestorm on social media.

It was around 5:30 p.m. Friday when a Kalamazoo Public Safety officer rounded the corner at Douglas and North and made a hand gesture towards a man who recorded it on camera.

The Facebook post on King Mansa Musa’s page has already been shared more than 2,000 times. The message with the post reads, “So while standing outside the barbershop waiting for my turn I captured this…… ‘Feeling threatened.'”

Screenshot of July 29 Facebook post by King Mansa Musa

Screenshot of July 29 Facebook post by King Mansa Musa

FOX 17 spoke with Kalamazoo Public Safety Chief Jeff Hadley Friday evening, who said his department is aware of the social media post and the attention it’s receiving.

Hadley told FOX17 the officer told public safety officials the gesture was meant to be a “Hello back” after believing the man who took the pictures had waved to the officer to say hello. The officer told public safety officials the gesture was made with no ill intent or malice and in no way was meant to make any kind of gun gesture towards the person outside the barbershop.

The incident is now under internal review, Hadley told FOX17. The department plans to review the officer’s patrol vehicle dash camera video as part of the review.

Hadley told FOX17 interaction took place after the officer had been dispatched to back up another officer during a traffic stop.

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15 comments

  • NO PC FOR ME

    Quick run to your safe space. the cops are pointing fingers at you.
    I think i’ll start using that gesture in support of the cop.

  • steve

    If the cop did something wrong, then so is every politician about to give a speech at any gathering where there’s a crowd. It looks nice on camera when introduced, they point a finger at nobody in particular in the crowd because it shows a phony “personal” touch with the people. This is another example in the ever-increasing popularity of someone claiming to be racially offended. The “look at me” accusation is baseless.

  • John

    If you watch the community gathering at the Church the woman speaking used the same gesture, you could have taken multiple photos showing her hand looking like a gun, I thought guns were not allowed in Churches…

  • Rabbit

    This is just ridiculous. Someone just wants to start drama and make this poor cops miserable. How many people do you wave at during the day and you take a picture of their response to you. I know I don’t. You have no idea what gesture the guy taking the picture made.

  • Jon

    I had a cop throw me a “peace sign” once. I feel threatened, I thought he was hinting he was gonna attack me with a pair of scissors. C’mon people grow up.

  • ambrown

    Officer should have thought twice, on Anybody or Idiot, With a Camera. Know Darn well any thing at all you do will fall right back in Your Lap. In this case, Smeared it all over the media. Naughty People love to do this, you cannot even blow your nose, without someone waiting for you to wipe your nose, maybe they will have a chance to examine how you do it I pity you guys and gals. Always under scrutiny. As tempted as I would be, don’t stick your tongue out. Chin up, Eyes open, Thank all for your Service.👍 Protection, Hardwork. God Bless.💝 💙👍

  • Too Logical

    Everyone knows that the real “Gonna get you” (gun finger pointing) is the index AND the middle finger together with the thumb up. The index and thumb is a “Hey, what up?” / “You da man!” sign–it’s the high five without being able to high five move. SMH.

  • Mr. Quick

    Why? He’s only throwing up a street gang sign. Gang colors: black and blue Gang name: Pigs or PD for short Gang handsign: two or three fingers shaped to form a gun Gang rivals: citizens