The United States Military Academy at West Point announced on Tuesday that it would not take punitive action against 16 female cadets over a controversial photo they appeared in that was posted on social media. West Point officials had launched a probe earlier this week into the “Old Corps” photo, which depicted 16 of the 17 African-American women cadets graduating in the Class of 2016 with their clench fists raised. Some who saw the photo, including Iraq War veterans, believed the women were making an overt political statement showing allegiance to the Black Lives Matter movement. Meanwhile, other graduates issued statements of support. Making a political statement while in uniform is a violation of U.S. military rules and the rules at West Point. But in a press release issued on Tuesday, the school said the women seen in the photograph “did not violate Department of Defense or Army regulations.” West Point said their findings showed no evidence that the women were trying to make a political statement with the raised fists. “The inquiry concluded that the photo was among several taken in the spur-of-the-moment. It was intended to demonstrate ‘unity’ and ‘pride,’” the school said in its statement. The women are set to graduate on May 21.
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