37 West Virginia correction officer trainees participated in a group photo in which they appeared to be giving a Nazi salute, according to WCHS. Governor Jim Justice has called for an investigation and anyone found to have been involved to be fired. State officials have suspended those believed to have been involved, The Associated Press reports.
An altered copy of the photo of Basic Training Class Number 18, which has the faces of those involved blurred out, was released by the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.
BREAKING: Photo released that has led to numerous DOC employees being suspended pic.twitter.com/Lee98ldVl2
— Leslie Rubin (@LeslieRubinWCHS) December 5, 2019
“This will not be tolerated on my watch — within the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation — or within any agency of state government,” Gov. Jim Justice said in a statement.
Agency Secretary Jeff Sandy in a memo called the image “distasteful, hurtful, disturbing, highly insensitive, and completely inappropriate.” He added that it “betrays the professionalism I have seen time and time again displayed and practiced by our brave correctional employees.”
WCHS reports Sandy’s memo was titled, “Conduct Unbecoming by Members of DCR” and sent to the entire agency.
Sandy also ordered all copies of the original photo be destroyed.
Video via WCHS: