Update (10/25 5:18 pm): After an investigation by the Westchester County Department of Justice, Karl Volmer, the Westchester County jail warden, has been suspended without pay, News 12 reports. Volmer allegedly escorted Hardwick around the facility himself, breaching the cell phone ban per jail policy. Damon Jones, a veteran corrections officer, confirmed to News 12 that Hardwick was at the jail shooting scenes for Power.
From Gridiron Gang to the Starz drama Power, actor Omari Hardwick’s roles always seem tangled up with the law. The trend recently spilled into his real life, when a selfie Hardwick took with a Westchester County jail inmate stirred a little controversy.
The photo, circulated on the social media accounts of rapper Tony Yayo and Power executive producer 50 Cent, shows Hardwick beside Matthew “Mata” Draper, both donning orange prison scrubs.
Of course, cell phones are banned for inmates at Westchester County jail, where smuggled contraband has become a constant issue. Whether or not the pic was snapped on Hardwick’s personal device, the selfie has launched an investigation from the Westchester County Department of Correction.
Draper, a 47-year-old Haverstraw resident, currently faces federal drug charges following an arrest in Yonkers earlier this October after an investigation revealed plans to import cocaine from the Dominican Republic, according to Lohud. Draper’s lawyer, concerned the inmate will receive backlash over the controversy, told Lohud, “I have no idea how that photograph came about.”
Coincidentally or not Power’s fourth season finds Ghost, Hardwick’s nightclub mogul counter-part, in jail awaiting trial. Whether this was all part of filming or Hardwick was simply visiting a friend, it’s clear the actor has a thing for cells.