A San Diego man was cracking his knuckles outside his truck window when a social media user accused him of making a racist gesture, which led to him losing his job. His accuser has changed his story, saying that he might have made a big mistake.
Emmanuel Cafferty was fired from the San Diego Gas and Electric after a photo of him with his arm hanging out the window of the company was taken by a stranger near a Black Lives Matter rally.
The photographer posted the photo on social media and accused Cafferty of making a "white power" gesture popular with many white supremacists. The gesture seen was an "OK" sign, which has the thumb and forefinger in a circle and the three other fingers extended.
The photographer tweeted the photo of Cafferty, who is Hispanic, with the caption: "[J]ust passed a bunch of kids walking on the sidewalk holding BLM signs, honked to say I am with them and this guy in the #SDGE truck pulls alongside and flashes this at me for the next couple blocks."
Speaking to KNSD, Cafferty stated that he was cracking his knuckles.
"I do that a lot when I'm driving. It has no racist intent behind it," he said.
He was suspended by SDG&E shortly after the tweet went viral, and then he was fired a few days later.
He told KNSD: "When my supervisor said that I was being accused of doing a white supremacist gesture, that was baffling. I was confident that I would be able to — with my character — show SDG&E that I'm not a racist."
"It's scary that you can be charged, tried, and convicted on social media without your permission, without no corroborating evidence of any type," he added.
"I don't know how long it's going to take me to get over this," he added, "but to lose your dream job for playing with your fingers, that's a hard pill to swallow."
When KNSD contacted Cafferty’s accuser, he stated that he realized that he may have ruined the life of an innocent man. He deleted the tweet, as well as his entire Twitter account.
He stated that he may have gotten "spun up" about the situation and misinterpreted Cafferty's actions, adding that he never intended for Caffery to lose his job.
SDG&E issued a statement saying: "We hold all SDG&E employees to a high standard and expect them to live up to our values every day. We conducted a good faith and thorough investigation that included gathering relevant information and multiple interviews, and took appropriate action."
Despite the accuser changing his story, SDG&E doubled down on its decision, and sent a statement to TheBlaze reading:
SDG&E employees are held to a high standard and are expected to live up to our values every day, whether in interactions with fellow employees or the public. We conducted a good faith and thorough investigation that included gathering relevant information and multiple interviews, and took action in line with those values. While we are not able to reveal the full circumstances surrounding our investigation and Mr. Cafferty's separation from the Company, we stand by our decision and will not be commenting any further.
A Change.org petition was launched on Cafferty’s behalf, urging the company to reinstate him.
Sources: The Blaze