Starkville Police Department responds to controversy over picture



February 24, 2022
This morning’s Coffee with a Cop was one of the best that our agency had experienced. It was one with great energy, fun, and had a great turnout. This program is a key tool in our community
outreach program.

Group photographs have been a way of capturing these moments. Sadly, an employee who was enjoying her last day jokingly made a “circle game” gesture that is
sometimes associated as a hate symbol. This photo was initially posted on social media by our agency and other employees. The photograph received a complaint and the department realizing
the connection and concerns pulled the photo.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) is an organization that centers itself upon that centers itself upon combating racism. The ADL references the “circle game,” as a game “in which people
attempt to trick each other into looking at an okay-like hand gesture made somewhere below the waist.” This is often mistaken as the Three Percenters, who are an anti-government militia

“Through direct conversation, it is my wholehearted belief that this incident had no racial intent or malice,” said Captain Mike Edwards, Investigations Division Commander. “It was a routine
jovial act of play between officers of multiple races and ethnic backgrounds. I have all faith thecommunity wouldn’t have reached out to the department if we didn’t have a good relationship
with them.”

This animal control officer has dedicated her life to the rescue of animals and has regular interactions playing the circle game with friends and family. This employee is not a member nor
supports the militia movement of the Three Percenters.

Categories: Local News

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