Dozens of Corrections Officers Give Nazi Salute in Photo, 3 Fired
West Virginia officials fired and suspended over 30 corrections officers for their participation in a photo showing officers giving a Nazi salute.
Three people have been fired and dozens suspended over a photo which shows a West Virginia basic training class of corrections officers giving a Nazi salute beneath the wording “Hail Byrd!” in a reference to the group’s instructor.
A statement released Friday from the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety (DMAPS) confirmed that of the three fired individuals, two were academy trainers and one was a cadet. All remaining trainees in the photo were suspended without pay.
“We are committed to a full and complete investigation that we will present to Governor Justice and to the public once it is finished,” DMAPS Secretary Jeff Sandy said. “As terrible as this incident has been, it is critically important that we go by the book to arrive at the whole truth of what occurred and why.”
The photo was taken at Glenville State College where investigators also conducted over 50 interviews following the discovery of the photo. Officials added the investigation was still underway but nearing completion.
“I remain outraged by this incident, as does Gov. Justice, Commissioner Jividen, and the rest of the DMAPS and DCR team,” Sandy said. “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.”
West Virginia Governor Jim Justice earlier this week ordered the termination of any employee involved with the creation of the photo.
“This will not be tolerated on my watch — within the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation — or within any agency of state government,” Justice said in a statement this week.