State authorities said they’ve suspended a corrections officer who participated in the recording of what they called a "hateful and disappointing video" in which one man kneeled on the neck of another during a counter-protest to a "Black Lives Matter" march.
In videos of the incident that continued to spread Wednesday, police-escorted protesters marching down a Franklin Township street in Gloucester County on Monday pass a group of men reenacting George Floyd’s death on a private property stacked with firewood for sale.
A pickup truck bears an American flag and a “Trump 2020” banner, while another truck flies a “Thin blue Line” flag. An “All Lives Matter” sign hangs nearby.
The man kneeling on the other exchanges shouts with the protestors.
“You don’t comply, that’s what happens," he says in one video. “You don’t comply, that’s what happens right here, look. He didn’t comply. He didn’t comply. If he would’ve complied, it wouldn’t have happened.”
State employment records and various news reports identify him as Joseph DeMarco.
The New Jersey Department of Corrections issued a statement Tuesday afternoon citing an officer’s participation in the filming of a “hateful and disappointing video that mocked the killing of George Floyd.”
The officer, who works at at Bayside State Prison in Leesburg, “has been suspended from their post and banned from NJDOC facilities pending a thorough and expedited investigation,” the statement says.
The department didn't identify DeMarco by name.
PBA Local 105, which represents New Jersey’s 6,000 corrections officers, said in a statement that under “no circumstance do we condone nor will we ever tolerate actions and expressions of discrimination, harassment and hatred."
DeMarco's brother, James, was fired by FedEx.
“We do not tolerate the kind of appalling and offensive behavior depicted in this video,” the company said in a statement.
Franklin Township Mayor John Bruno and Police Chief Brian Zimmer issued a joint statement saying they were "appalled and saddened by the revolting actions of certain individuals."
"Without an understanding and mutual respect for all individuals, we can never aspire to create a united community based upon the idea of human respect and dignity for all," they said.
The township committee and police department also issued a joint statement:
"The Franklin Township Committee and the Franklin Township Police Department are appalled and saddened by the revolting actions of certain individuals after Monday’s locally organized peaceful march. This is not who we are as a Community. We support the goal of this march, which is to spread awareness and to ensure a better future for all of us. Without an understanding and mutual respect for all individuals, we can never aspire to create a united community based upon the idea of human respect and dignity for all."
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