City Clerk Susana Mendoza is investigating whether gang signs are in the artwork of the new Chicago city sticker just days before the sticker is set to be printed.
The sticker was picked as the winner in a city-wide contest and was designed by a 15-year-old boy who attends a school for troubled youth.
The theme of the contest was to honor city firefighters and police officers. The freshman said his design honored first responders, as he was saved from a fire when he was 4 years old.
On Tuesday, the city clerk’s office began getting calls after a blogger said the hands in the artwork may be showing the symbol of a notorious gang. Reportedly, both the heart and the shape of the hands in the image are evocative of gang symbols.
Former police superintendent Jody Weis told the Chicago Tribune he didn’t see it at first, but after looking at it larger he thinks it looks "too close to be a coincidence."
Mendoza said she is looking into the issue and hopes it isn’t true, especially since she said she grew up in a neighborhood plagued by gangs. She tweeted Tuesday night that she was "gathering the facts on this before determining an appropriate course of action."
The sticker, available for purchase in June 2012, will be the first to feature the names of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Mendoza.
About 1.2 million stickers a year are sold to Chicago vehicle owners.
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