White officer caught on camera mocking George Floyd's death could lose job

Janelle Griffith

Authorities in New Jersey have moved to terminate a white corrections officer who was caught on camera mocking the death of George Floyd at a protest.

On Tuesday, the state's Department of Corrections tweeted that removal charges have been served on the officer seen among a group of white men counter-protesting a rally against police brutality and systemic racism in Franklin Township in South Jersey.

The officer was one of two white men posing with one kneeling on the neck of the other -- an apparent recreation of the deadly arrest of Floyd, a Black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes.

"The Officer was placed on non-pay status pending a due process hearing as part of the regular procedure for government unionized employees," the Corrections Department's tweet said.

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 told NBC News in an email Friday. "We do not support any member of this association that does anything outside the scope of our duties as Correctional Police Officers."

Sullivan said DeMarco works at Bayside State Prison in Leesburg.

A spokesman for the Department of Corrections, John Cokos, said in a statement Friday in response to an inquiry about the officer's identity and work history that it was "not making the individual's name public at this time."

The statement said the individual involved in the video is a senior correctional officer who was hired on March 25, 2002, and who has worked at both Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility and Bayside State Prison.

The incident occurred June 8 when a few dozen people gathered in Franklin Township, a town of about 16,400, for the rally sparked by Floyd's death.

A viral video shows the group was met by several white men, who had gathered near a sign that said "All Lives Matter" and in front of a pickup truck draped with an American flag and a pro-Trump sign.

One of the white men yelled at the marchers angrily while kneeling on the neck of another who was face down on the ground.

The following afternoon, the New Jersey Department of Corrections said it had been made aware that one of its officers "participated in the filming of a hateful and disappointing video that mocked the killing" of Floyd and said that the individual was suspended.

Hours later, FedEx confirmed that one of its employees had also taken part in the counterprotest and had been fired as a result.

Chauvin and three other officers involved in detaining Floyd were fired. Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder, second-degree murder and manslaughter.

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