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Report: Nazi symbol in training video ‘unintentional’

One Jewish community leader told WKYT that the state’s response is still not enough.
Published: Apr. 7, 2021 at 5:16 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - A state investigation found that a law enforcement and emergency worker training video with a Nazi symbol in it was lifted from YouTube, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

An official report from the inspector general, obtained by the Herald-Leader, found that the trainer did not intend to the include the symbol - a “sonnenrad,” a black sun symbol appropriated by Nazis and other white supremacist groups - and did not know what it meant.

The symbol showed up at the beginning of a six-minute clip from a YouTube video that was part of a Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice Training class for 911 dispatchers and other emergency workers about the drug epidemic. That video came from a production company associated with racist, anti-Semitic and other prejudiced videos, the Herald-Leader reports.

The Herald-Leader reports the sonnenrad, a black sun symbol appropriated by Nazis, showed up at...
The Herald-Leader reports the sonnenrad, a black sun symbol appropriated by Nazis, showed up at the beginning of a six-minute Youtube clip that was part of a Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice training class.(Herald-Leader)

The inspector general’s report says that the instructor “did not take any steps to determine the identity of (the production company) or the veracity of the information or the veracity of the information presented during the six-minute ‘history’ video clip,” but the trainer decided to end the short segment he was using before the narrator began complaining about “Jewish gangsters,” beginning, as the paper reports, “an anti-Semitic theme that continues for much of the rest of the half-hour.”

Rabbi Shlomo Litvin of Chabad of the Bluegrass says that even if some of the statistics in the video are valid, it should not have been used as a source, given the appearance of the controversial symbol and the video’s troubling reliance on racist stereotypes.

Jewish leaders say it is especially concerning now, amid a rise in anti-Semitic acts and violence across the country in recent years. Even the UK Jewish Student Center has been vandalized on more than one occasion.

“When all these forces are surrounding,” Rabbi Litvin said, “for the police department to say that ‘something slipped through the cracks, we didn’t recognize anti-Semitism when we saw it,’ is in no way reassuring to the Jewish community, who, like every other community - especially minority communities - relies on police to be their arbitrator of what is fair and just.”

It was not the first time that state training materials have come under scrutiny. Kentucky State Police training materials previously surfaced showing quotes from Adolf Hitler and Confederate General Robert E. Lee, and urging troopers to be “ruthless killers.”

“I don’t think we’re asking for the world here, that white supremacist logos and Hitler quotes shouldn’t get in education videos for police,” Rabbi Litvin said. “I think that’s a very low bar to set.”

Rabbi Litvin said that he finds it worrisome not just that something like this slipped through the cracks, but how something like this slipped through the cracks.

Read more from the inspector general’s report via the Lexington Herald-Leader here.

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