WATERVILLE, Maine — Waterville’s Fire Chief Shawn Esler said he plans to find out the intent of a firefighter’s hand gesture found in an official department photo, Bangor Daily News reports.

Esler called the hand gesture, known to be associated with white power, “completely unacceptable” Thursday. The picture had been used as the cover photo for the department’s Facebook page since Tuesday.

The fire department removed it after the BDN asked about the firefighter’s hand gesture — an “OK” sign that has been listed as a symbol of hate.

Waterville Fire
Bangor, Maine -- Jan. 16, 2020 -- A Waterville fire department photo where a firefighter can be seen making a hand gesture associated with white power.
BDN screenshot from Waterville Fire Department Facebook

“If I find that it was associated with any kind of hate crime whatsoever, I will be disciplining said individual to the fullest extent of my power and turning it over to the police for further review,” Esler told the BDN Thursday. 

The sign has also been used to “trigger liberals” or as a joke.

“It’s not a joke to me, and it’s not a joke to the fire service either,” Esler said. “There is no joke when it comes to that.”

Waterville_Fire.jpg
Bangor, Maine -- Jan. 16, 2020 -- A Waterville fire department photo where a firefighter can be seen making a hand gesture associated with white power.
BDN screenshot from Waterville Fire Department Facebook

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