Dec. 6 (UPI) -- West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has called for several employees of the state's Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation to be fired after a photo surfaced of 30 participates of a basic training class seemingly performing the Nazi salute.
"I have ordered the termination of all those that are found to be involved in this conduct," Justice said in a Thursday statement. "This will not be tolerated on my watch -- within the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation -- or within any agency of state government."
He said he condemns the photo in "the strongest terms" and has directed Secretary Jeff Sandy of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety to conduct an investigation into the incident.
Sandy said he has seen the photo, condemns it and has suspended "a number" of Corrections and Rehabilitation employees as the investigation continues.
"It is distasteful, hurtful, disturbing, highly insensitive and completely inappropriate," he said in a Wednesday letter to employees. "It undermines the high standards that have been set for our Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation."
He said he has ordered all copies of the photo to be destroyed.
Sen. Joe Manchin said he has seen the photo and it does not reflect the West Virginia he knows and those involved should be fired.
"Based on the photo I have seen and the anti-Semitic intent it appears to show, this behavior warrants an immediate investigation and anyone who participated in any hateful and disgusting action should not be able to work for or by paid by the federal or state government and should be removed from their position immediately," he said in a statement. "It is unacceptable and should not be tolerated."
Sandy said in his letter that they have informed faith and community leaders about the photo and have asked for advice on how to address the issue effectively.