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Four Texas prison guards fired, two resign after investigation into social media challenge

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Posted at 6:48 PM, Apr 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-23 19:51:45-04

Four Texas prison guards were fired and another two resigned after an investigation into a string of social media pictures.

According to the Houston Chronicle, the social media pictures were posted as a part of the "Feeling cute challenge."

They said officials did not clarify what units the officers worked at or which posts were flagged for concern.

The challenge has men and women taking selfies in police, corrections and other public employee uniforms with funny captions. The posts then finish with the #feelingCute hashtag.

An example: "Feeling cute, might just gas some inmates today, IDK." The selfie includes a woman wearing, what appears to be, a Texas Department of Criminal Justice uniform.

A couple posts gained attention at the beginning of April. After the challenge, inmate families began emailing department officials with screenshots, demanding action, according to the Houston Chronicle.

TDCJ Executive Director Bryan Collier took to Facebook on April 17 to issued a statement:

You may have seen reports about the so-called feeling cute challenge that is currently being widely discussed on various social media channels. Currently, 6 of the more than 25,000 correctional officers employed by this agency are under investigation for on and off-duty conduct violations as a result of the alleged posting of inappropriate photographs and comments on social media. These officers in no way represent the thousands of TDCJ employees who go to work every day taking public safety seriously in all ways. Investigations are ongoing. If any allegations prove true, swift disciplinary action that could include termination of involved employees will occur.

The trend began to spark backlash after an Aransas Pass police officer joked about pulling people over.

Some of the posts had fun captions, but others sparked backlash.

"Felt cute... might wrestle an inmate later," read a caption from a man in a sheriff's office uniform from Williamson County. The sheriff's office did not immediately offer a comment.

Police experts said the incident now has a need for independent oversight and a change at the state agency, according to the Houston Chronicle.