Photo shows West Virginia corrections employees making a Nazi salute

Elias Hubbard
December 6, 2019

According to Secretary Jeff Sandy, the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety and its Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation work to complete the investigation into a photo of a training class.

The controversial image, which was printed on state letterhead, showed about 30 trainees in uniform displaying the Nazi salute under a sign that read "HAIL BYRD!".

The state's Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation announced the suspensions in a letter to employees on Wednesday, calling the image "distasteful, hurtful, disturbing, highly insensitive and completely inappropriate".

The class reportedly took place from 21 October to 27 November.

While local news outlets had reported on the photo before it surfaced, based on Sandy's letter alone, DMAPS published the image on Thursday in response to public records requests, though it blurred the officers' faces, citing their right to privacy. "I can not stress enough how this betrays the high standards and professionalism of the men and women of corrections, who successfully carry out their vital and daunting public safety mission every day and around the clock". "I condemn it in the strongest possible terms", Sandy wrote to employees in the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety is opening an investigation into an offensive photo depicting Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation Services trainees giving a well-recognized Nazi hand signal.

Officials have also informed faith and community leaders about the photo.

Republican Gov. Jim Justice issued a statement condemning the photo and ordering the firing of the people involved.

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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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