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West Virginia correctional cadets fired over Nazi salute in photo


(KYMA, KSWT, KECY, NBC)- A group of correctional officer cadets are fired after participating in a Nazi salute during a class photo.

NBC News reports the photo of Basic Training Class 18 was released on December 5 with the employee's faces blurred.

The photo shows 30 uniformed trainees posing with their arms raised, and most of them with their hands also extended.

According to NBC News, three people were fired days after the photo was released and 34 others were suspended without pay.

Reports said one of the cadets stated the gesture began two to three weeks into training where an individual identified as "Instructor Byrd."

Byrd told investigators she was unaware of the “historical or racial implications of the gesture” and reported it was “simply a greeting," according to the report.

According to NBC News, the class photos, including the "Hail Byrd'' picture, were forwarded to a member of the secretarial staff as is standard procedure.

A secretary reported asking Byrd, "What are you all doing in the picture?" Byrd told her "there is nothing wrong with it, we have people of all colors and backgrounds in the picture and every one of them is participating."

The secretary stated that Byrd directed her to caption the picture "Hail Byrd," according to the report, and told the secretary the students say that “because I’m a hard-ass like Hitler.”

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice released a statement on Monday saying that after reviewing the information, this kind of behavior will not be tolerated on his watch in any agency of the state government.

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Sumiko Keil

Sumiko Keil has served as the Digital Content Producer since March 2019.


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