Controversial photo leads to dozens of WV Division of Corrections Firings

West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – This is the graduation photo taken of a corrections officers class in November. The photo shows cadets making a Nazi-salute towards one of their instructors, Kerrie Byrd. Governor Justice has approved firings of three instructors, including Byrd. Four others are suspended without pay. And all trainees who gave the salute in the photo have been fired as well. Delegate Rodney Miller, a former Boone Country Sheriff, says the punishments are appropriate.

“I think they are supposed to be leaders in their community. They are supposed to be setting the standard. And again, this is unacceptable and there’s no place for that in the leadership in West Virginia, whether it’s law enforcement or corrections or any other type work,” Miller said.

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice said, “The net of everything has got to be dismissals, terminations.”

Governor Justice, who spoke out when the photo was made public in early December, said in a statement Monday he will not tolerate such behavior from any state employee. The investigation was under the direction of Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary Jeff Sandy, a career law enforcement officer.

Kanawha County Delegate Andrew Robinson said, “Well I think it’s appropriate. The actions they took and the photo that was taken is out of line, and I congratulate Secretary Sandy for taking swift and appropriate actions.”

The investigators conducted interviews with more than 75 people, including all the cadets and corrections trainers and staff members who had knowledge of the Hitler salute.

“While the disciplinary actions in this case have now been handed out, don’t be surprised if the Legislature holds hearings on the investigations when lawmakers convene here in January. At the Capitol in Charleston, Mark Curtis 13 News Working for You.”

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