A suspect in Friday’s mass shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, appeared to flash a “white power” sign during his first court appearance on Saturday.
Brenton Harrison Tarrant, a 28-year-old from Australia, reportedly smirked and used his shackled right hand to make the “OK” symbol, which the Southern Poverty Law Center notes has been adopted in recent years by white nationalists, neo-Nazis and Klansmen following its emergence as an online trolling hoax.
The SPLC notes that the sign can have multiple meanings.
“So when someone flashes the ‘OK sign’ with that knowing smirk, it’s not just a harmless act that can be dismissed,” the SPLC writes. “It may or may not mean that they are a white nationalist attempting a sly signal. But the sign unquestionably identifies the user as one thing: a troll.”
The manifesto the shooter posted online includes multiple instances of apparent trolling. Still, the document described a hatred of Muslims and praised U.S.-based extremist movements.
The shooter was charged with one count of murder in connection with the attack, which left at least 49 dead. He faces possible further charges and will stay in custody until his next court hearing on April 5.
BEFORE YOU GO
How to vote
Vote-by-mail ballot request deadline: Varies by state
For the Nov 3 election: States are making it easier for citizens to vote absentee by mail this year due to the coronavirus. Each state has its own rules for mail-in absentee voting. Visit your state election office website to find out if you can vote by mail.Get more information
In-person early voting dates: Varies by state
Sometimes circumstances make it hard or impossible for you to vote on Election Day. But your state may let you vote during a designated early voting period. You don't need an excuse to vote early. Visit your state election office website to find out whether they offer early voting.My Election Office
General Election: Nov 3, 2020
Polling hours on Election Day: Varies by state/localityMy Polling Place