WAUSEON, Ohio (WTVG) – A photo of a local mayor and a member of a motorcycle club is creating some controversy around northwest Ohio.
The photo, taken at the Fulton County Republican Committee’s Pro-Trump rally over the weekend, shows a man standing next to Wauseon mayor Kathy Hunter, making a hand gesture considered to be a symbol for white supremacy by the Southern Poverty Law Center, as well as the Anti-defamation League, and other organizations.
“Being half-Latino, that is something I do not represent,” says Mayor Huner. “I had no idea that any of that kind of symbolism is even out there. I don’t know it. I don’t understand it.”
The mayor says she posed for the picture to thank the group for attending the event in Wauseon, with no knowledge the gesture was made until after the photo was taken.
“The White Power White Supremacy that I googled was different than the symbol this man was making in my opinion,” explains Mayor Huner.
The mayor says the picture was posted on the city’s webpage after the event, but she has since removed it.
“Not knowing what this signal means or hand signal means and not knowing what the offense was by somebody sending it to you, I apologize for the miscommunication and confusion,” says Mayor Huner.
13abc was also able to speak with the Libertarian’s Motorcycle Club, a group based out of Toledo, not affiliated with the Libertarian political party.
The member in the photo, Larry Hitesman, the organization’s Road Captain, telling us he was holding out three fingers, symbolizing the number three, not anything to do with “WP” or White Power.
“Since 2013 its always something we do to identify as three percenters,” says Hitesman, who says he thought the rumored idea of the gesture being considered as a symbol for white supremacy was debunked. “I had no idea about it really, and I guess I’d heard it but I didn’t ever associate it with ours.”
The group tells us they participate in community activism and philanthropy, saying to them, the symbol means something else entirely as supporters of the constitution and the national three percent movement.
“It was determined In the Revolutionary War, three percent of the population stood up for personal freedoms and individual rights,” explains Hitesman, who says the group will be discussing whether or not to continue using the gesture in photos.
“I don’t see the problem with it, and if someone misunderstands it then I’m sorry. All I can do is educate.”