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NJ corrections officer may lose his job over George Floyd death re-enactment

Andrew Cuomo

A New Jersey corrections officer who was suspended for his alleged role in mocking the death of George Floyd and re-enacting it earlier this month faces termination from his job and internal charges from his union.

All Lives Matter demonstrators carried out the re-enactment at a Black Lives Matter march in Franklinville, New Jersey, on June 8. It was videotaped by people from both sides of the protest and posted on social media. The footage shows a man lying prone on the ground before another man kneels on his neck.

The New Jersey Department of Corrections said in a tweet Tuesday that the officer involved in the mocking re-enactment is facing removal — which is part of the process of seeking to terminate his employment — over the incident.

“Removal charges have been served on the DOC officer involved in the video mocking the killing of George Floyd. The Officer was placed on non-pay status pending a due process hearing as part of the regular procedure for government unionized employees,” the NJDOC said.

A source familiar with the situation tells CNN the officer involved is Joseph DeMarco. The source previously told CNN DeMarco has been employed by NJDOC for at least 18 years.

There will be a hearing to determine his employment and DeMarco can appeal any ruling. He was most recently an employee at Bayside State Prison.

DeMarco’s union also said Friday he is facing charges internally and is suspended.

“PBA 105 have brought union charges against Mr. DeMarco and he is suspended from our organization. We do not support any member of this association that does anything outside the scope of our duties as Correctional Police Officers,” said PBA 105 Union President William Sullivan.

“I would hope there would be some lessons learned. As law enforcement you’re basically paramilitary and you’re on duty 24/7. Your personal opinions shouldn’t be in public aspects until retirement but for those 25 years you’re in service you represent more than just your own opinion,” Sullivan said.

CNN has been unsuccessful in attempts to reach DeMarco.

In a statement posted to Twitter earlier this month, FedEx said it had fired one employee it allegedly saw in the video at the protest.

“FedEx holds its team members to a high standards of personal conduct, and we do not tolerate the kind of appalling and offensive behavior depicted in this video. The individual involved is no longer employed by FedEx. We stand with those who support justice and equality,” the statement read.

Videos capture re-enactment

The entire incident lasted one minute and 23 seconds, according to video posted to social media that CNN has obtained.

The video appears to have been taken by an All Lives Matter protester and shows what was happening before and after the Black Lives Matter march passed by.

The footage shows the re-enactment beginning about 20 seconds before the police cars escorting the Black Lives Matter march reach the All Lives Matter protesters.

Other eyewitness videos, taken by Black Lives Matter marchers, pick up what happened next.

“I felt something was happening because the officers began shifting us to the opposite side of the street as we marched closer to that area,” Russell Sampson, a Black Lives Matter marcher, told CNN.

Ten seconds after the escorting police cars roll by, when the marchers approach, the kneeling man starts shouting at them. “You don’t comply, that’s what happens,” he screams, gesturing at the protesters to the person underneath him. “Look … he didn’t comply! He didn’t comply. If he would have complied, that wouldn’t have happened.”

‘Racism is everywhere’

The day after the incident the organizer of the Black Lives Matter protest in Franklinville, Daryan Fennal, told CNN she was brought to tears seeing the re-enactment.

“I saw mothers trying to cover their children’s eyes,” she told CNN in a statement.

“Racism is everywhere, but to put it on display in such a gruesome and public way was what surprised me.”

After the protesters pass by, a man taking a video then begins commenting on the Black Lives Matter marchers.

“Blacks lives matter to no one,” he is heard saying in the video. “All lives matter. All lives matter. Police lives matter. God bless the police. God bless the police. You (dumba**) protesters.”

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