More Than 30 US Prison Staff Suspended After Doing Nazi Salute On Camera
Several prison employees have been fired and more than 30 others suspended after a photo emerged of them making a Nazi salute while in uniform.
The photograph shows trainees at the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation making the gesture underneath a sign reading ‘Hail Byrd’ – an apparent reference to a class trainer.
The photo shows around 30 blurred faces doing the salute, and was shot for the state’s ‘Basic Training Class #18’, which reportedly took place from October 21 and November 27. The photo does not include names of the employees.
Every trainee involved – a total of 34 – has been suspended without pay amid an investigation by the US Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety (DMAPS), while two academy trainers and one cadet were dismissed from duty.
West Virginia governor Jim Justice called for everyone involved in the photograph to be fired, while Secretary of State for Military Affairs and Public Health, Jeff Sandy, said he was ‘outraged’ by the incident.
Mr Sandy said, as per The Independent:
I cannot 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.
We are committed to a full and complete investigation that we will present to Governor Justice and to the public once it is finished.
An investigation into the incident is nearly complete and will be released to the public once it is, Mr Sandy said in a statement. In a letter to employees at the facility, Mr Sandy described the incident as ‘distasteful, hurtful, disturbing, highly insensitive and completely inappropriate’.
He continued, as per the BBC:
It betrays the professionalism I have seen time and time again displayed and practised by our brave correctional employees.
The Secretary of State for Military Affairs and Public Health said the department has already informed faith leaders and community leaders of the photo, stating: ‘We have asked for their help to address it effectively, including with recommended changes or additions to our training programs.’
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