Fire chief: Firefighter's injury was reason for gesture that was taken as potentially offensive

By  | 

WATERVILLE, Maine (WABI) - A photo of the members of the Waterville Fire Department sparked some questions Thursday, but the fire chief says there was nothing inappropriate about it.

The Bangor Daily News had posted a screenshot of the group photo that showed one firefighter with what looked like a hand gesture associated with the white power movement.

Fire Chief Shawn Esler released a statement Friday saying the firefighter in question had actually been injured before the photo was taken.

The chief says that injury caused the firefighter to hold his hand in a way that he made a circle with his thumb and forefinger.

The picture had been used as a cover photo on the department's page but was removed after questions arose.

Esler said firefighters were interviewed, and they determined there was no racially charged motivation involved.