WV Corrections Officers Suspended After Nazi Salute Photo Surfaces

Cheryl Sanders
December 7, 2019

A spokesperson for the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety said the "Hail Byrd" sign referred to a training instructor, the Washington Post reported, and not former U.S. senator Robert Byrd.

"It is distasteful, hurtful, disturbing, highly insensitive and completely inappropriate". The state subsequently released an edited version of the photo that showed roughly 30 people in uniform making Nazi-like gestures.

Two correctional academy trainers and one of the Basic Training Class #18 cadets in the photo were terminated, according to DMAPS.

27, and WCHS recently obtained a copy of the photo, with blurred faces, from the office of Gov. Jim Justice (R).

The photo, provided to The Post with faces of the participants already blurred out, is labeled as DCR "Basic Training Class #18" that took place from October 21 to November 27. "And to both the local Jewish community, and the world audience that will unfortunately now see this, let me be clear: We condemn this ignorant, hateful display in the strongest terms possible".

"I have directed Secretary Jeff Sandy of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety to continue actively investigating this incident, and I have ordered the termination of all those that are found to be involved in this conduct". "It betrays the professionalism I have seen time and time again displayed and practiced by our courageous correctional employees".

Several government employees have been suspended over the photo and an internal investigation is ongoing, Jeff Sandy, secretary of the state's Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, wrote in a memo Wednesday.

Commissioner Betsy Jividen has directed all copies be destroyed to "keep its harm from spreading" and to "preserve high standards and professionalism of the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety". "We have asked for their help to address it effectively, including with the recommended changes or additions to our training programs".

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