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Westchester probes actor’s selfie with inmate


Officials are investigating how an actor visiting the Westchester County jail was apparently able to take a photo with an inmate in a cell last week.

The photo appears to be a selfie taken by Omari Hardwick, star of the Starz series “Power,” and inmate Matthew Draper, also known as “Mata.” The picture has been circulated on the social media accounts of rapper 50 Cent, Power’s executive producer, and rapper Tony Yayo.

“The Department of Correction is aware of this matter and is conducting an investigation into it,” Justin Pruyne, deputy commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Correction, said Monday afternoon.


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It was not immediately clear whether Hardwick was filming at the jail or there for another reason. The show’s fourth season — being filmed now — begins with Hardwick’s character in jail, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Contraband has been an issue at local jails and prisons, where authorities work to prevent visitors from smuggling banned items to inmates.

Draper, a 47-year-old Haverstraw resident, is being held at the Westchester County jail while he faces federal drug charges following an arrest on Oct. 5. He was taken into custody in Yonkers after an undercover operation revealed his plans to import and distribute cocaine from the Dominican Republic, prosecutors said in court documents.

He spent multiple stints in state prisons on weapons convictions in the 1990s, according to the state Department of Correction and Community Supervision.

Draper’s lawyer, Javier Alberto Solano, wrote in an email to The Journal News/lohud.com: “I have no idea how that photograph came about.”

“Certainly my client, as a prisoner, does not have the capability or means to take the photograph nor did he have anything to do with it being posted on social media,” he added. “While I appreciate the well wishes from 50 Cent and others, I am concerned that somehow Matthew is going to be detrimentally affected by this.”

Hardwick’s representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.

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