A photo posted to Instagram on Sunday showed Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan of New Mexico flashing what appeared to be a white nationalist hand sign.
The photo, posted to the account of Lujan’s wife, Julie Casados, shows him standing behind her and their two sons while proudly displaying an upside-down “OK” gesture with his right hand, the same sign white nationalists triumphantly flash, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.
While his wife had the caucasity to post the pic, it’s since been deleted. It’s puzzling why, though: If it was so innocent, why delete it? If there’s a perfectly good explanation for why Lujan is repping a sign associated with white nationalists, why not keep the pic up and simply explain his rationale?
This incident comes a little more than a week after the Dec. 14 Army-Navy football game where cadets flashed the same hand sign, prompting an internal investigation by the military.
Like the military, Lujan’s history around racial issues is less than stellar. In 2015, Former Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Marvin Armijo sued Lujan and the county for racial discrimination, sexual harassment, and violations of the Whistleblower Protection Act.
“Beginning in October 2014 and throughout his employment, the lawsuit said, Lujan would make comments about Armijo’s dark skin color,” the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.
Court records show that the suit also claimed that in one instance when Armijo requested to take time off for a hunting trip, that Lujan used a racial slur and told him African Americans don’t know how to hunt. The lawsuit also alleged that during a Christmas evening shift, Lujan used a racial slur and said that only black folks were required to work that day. The lawsuit was settled out of court.
Hopefully, an investigation into Sheriff Lujan’s actions is underway, and hopefully, someone clearly communicates to the law enforcement officer that signaling a white supremacist symbol is NEVER OK—and that if he continues to do it, his career will be anything but.