EXCLUSIVE: A Victoria Police officer who was photographed menacingly flashing a suspected ‘White Power’ sign at a young woman of Asian heritage at a climate change protest in Melbourne this week is also a fan of well-known Alt-Right and fascist memes, True Crime News Weekly can reveal.
Senior Constable Travis Gray has been named as the Victoria Police officer responsible for flashing a suspected ‘White Power’ sign in a menacing manner at a young female protestor at a climate change protest in Melbourne that also saw groups of heavily armed riot police violently attack activists as well as journalists.
Senior Constable Gray was photographed making the ‘OK sign’ while patrolling outside a global mining conference that was targeted by climate change activists as part of a blockage protest over two days on Tuesday, October 29 and Wednesday, October 30.
The so-called ‘Ok symbol’ was added to an official list of hate symbols compiled by the US-based anti-hate group, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), just this September.
The ADL states the OK symbol has become a “popular trolling tactic” from “right-leaning individuals, who often post photos to social media of themselves posing while making the gesture”.
A young female protestor who is of Chinese heritage has alleged Senior Constable Gray flashed the sign at her, and did so in an intimidating manner. She claims there was no reason for the police officer to gesture at her.
“This cop then proceeded to taunt me … He was giving a Chinese woman wearing a tshirt that said ‘immigrant’ on it a fascist gesture,” the woman has said on social media.
However, after the photo went viral across Twitter on Thursday, October 31, Victoria Police quickly scurried for an excuse.
“There is an image which has been circulated on social media with a police officer using a hand signal to indicate ‘all is ok’. Some are reporting the hand signal is of ‘white power’, we assure you this is not the intended meaning,” a Victoria Police spokesperson said.
Senior Constable Travis Gray photographed flashing a suspected “White Power’ sign to a young female protestor who claims there was no reason to gesture at her (Image: Supplied / Twitter)
As the photo kept gaining traction across social media, a few hours later Victoria Police then released a more detailed comment about the incident. This time, they even doubled down on the claim that Senior Constable Gray was apparently concerned about the welfare of protestors and was looking out for their health and safety.
“We have spoken to the officer and have confirmed he was signalling ‘are you okay’ to two protestors who were caught in a large crowd looking unwell,” Victoria Police said in an emailed statement.
“The protest activity is extremely dynamic with megaphones, sirens and loud chanting making it difficult to hear so hand signals are often used. Any suggestion to indicate the officer was signalling anything else is completely untrue and Victoria Police considers this matter closed.”
Though Victoria Police were anxious for the matter to be closed then, True Crime News Weekly believes that this issue may continue on for some time.
And that’s because it can now be revealed that Senior Constable Gray is a self-declared fan of well-known Alt-Right and fascist memes like Pepe the Frog and NPC Wojak, if his own social media accounts are any guide.
Racist and fascist memes that are used by Alt-Right trolls had pride of place on Senior Constable Travis Gray’s personal Facebook page which has now been shut down (Images: Supplied / Facebook)
A now-closed Facebook account containing the images has been confirmed as belonging to Senior Constable Gray.
True Crime News Weekly contacted Victoria Police as well as Victoria Police Minister Lisa Neville late in the evening on Friday, November 1 to discuss the developments.
Among our questions, we asked whether the community should be worried about a militant alt-right or fascist element infiltrating the ranks of Victoria Police.
A spokesperson for Victoria Police said they stood by their previous comments and they had independent witnesses to claim Senior Constable Gray was not engaging in racist Alt-Right trolling, but instead simply making a “polite” gesture.
“The Senior Constable photographed at the protest was signalling ‘are you okay’ to two protesters who were caught in a large crowd looking unwell. This has been verified by other members who witnessed the interaction,” Victoria Police told True Crime News Weekly in an emailed statement.
“It is disappointing that a small number of people continue to make false accusations about what was intended to be a polite gesture. We will not be commenting further on this matter.”
Somewhat bafflingly, Victoria Police then also claimed that it has no opinion on whether the force is concerned by its officers publicly spreading extremist, fascist or racist memes online.
“Victoria Police employees are entitled to have private social media accounts. Any views or opinions posted on these pages do not necessarily reflect those of Victoria Police,” a police spokesperson said.
“We have full confidence in the ability of the Senior Constable to perform his duties.”
“EAD Hippy”: Another Victoria Police officer being charming and friendly at this week’s climate change protests (Image: Supplied / Twitter)
The outing of Senior Constable Gray as an online fan of the Alt-Right comes after Victoria Police was forced to apologise after yet another one of its officers at the same protest was photographed with a handwritten note on his body camera that read “EAD (Eat A Dick) Hippy”.
Victoria Police has claimed it will be investigating that matter further with involvement from Professional Standards Command, while disciplinary action against that particular officer “will be considered”.
True Crime News Weekly can only wonder what some of these officers are like away from the cameras if this is how they act out in public. We can only hold our breath on what conclusions police investigating their police colleagues will eventually draw.