TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey’s Department of Corrections said Thursday it has filed removal proceedings against an officer seen in a video with people mocking George Floyd’s death as protesters pass by.
The video from early June shows several men in a yard yelling at protesters who are in the street. One man is seen kneeling on the neck of another man who is lying on the ground. One of the counter-protesters was identified as a corrections officer and suspended after the incident.
On Thursday, the DOC tweeted that the officer, who it did not identify, “was placed on non-pay status pending a due process hearing as part of the regular procedure for government unionized employees.”
The union representing corrections officers identified the man as Joseph DeMarco and said it had suspended him from the union.
“PBA 105 have brought union charges against Mr. DeMarco and he is suspended from our organization,” union president William Sullivan said in an email. “We do not support any member of this association that does anything outside the scope of our duties as Correctional Police Officers.”
The DOC didn’t immediately respond to a request for information on whether DeMarco had an attorney who could comment.
In the video, protesters march along a street in Franklin Township, Gloucester County, chanting “George Floyd!” and “Black Lives Matter!” The video shows they are being escorted by local police.
They pass a private property filled with firewood for sale. Video filmed by someone marching shows a man kneeling on the neck of another man shouting unintelligibly back at protesters. Protesters shout back.
Two more men are standing nearby and one of them is filming on a cellphone. The group is standing on the roadside in front of a pickup truck outfitted with an American flag and a Trump banner. Several others are nearby. An “All Lives Matter” sign is also hanging.
Another truck shows the “thin blue line” flag, meant to show support for law enforcement workers.
Floyd, a Black man, was pinned to the pavement May 25 by a white Minneapolis police office who put his knee on Floyd’s neck for several minutes, even after Floyd stopped responding. Protests have been held in cities and towns around the world calling for an end to police brutality and systemic racism.
Porter reported from New York.