*Since taking over security in Ferguson, Missouri following the killing of Michael Brown, veteran Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson has taken several photos with community folk while throwing a hand sign that has been misreported as a gang sign.
But as it turns out, Capt. Johnson is a Nupe.
The Washington Post’s Soraya Nadia McDonald had to address this in an article pointing out that his hand sign – three fingers up with pointer and thumb pinched together – represents his college fraternity.
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.
A CNN iReport post apparently helped spread this erroneous rumor, though, as the Post points out, CNN’s post seems to have been taken down, reports Salon.com.
Here are a few of the photos and reactions:
— DJ Digital (@callmeDjDigital) August 19, 2014
Now there’s a FB group demanding that Ron Johnson lose his job because they think he’s a gang member. You can’t make this stuff up. — Evan F. Moore (@evanFmoore) August 19, 2014
Wow. So this article said Ron Johnson is throwing up “gang signs”. I’m assuming they know nothing about fraternities. pic.twitter.com/HdB9a0YJHA
— True Eastwood (@true_east_) August 19, 2014