June 25, 2020
The New Jersey Department of Corrections has moved to terminate an officer who allegedly mocked the police killing of George Floyd during a Black Lives Matter protest in Gloucester County earlier this month.
The NJDOC issued removal charges Thursday against the officer, who been suspended without pay pending a due process hearing – part of the procedure for dismissing unionized employees.
The department did not identify the officer in announcing the charges, but media reports previously identified him as Joseph DeMarco.
A video from a the protest in Franklin Township showed two men mimicking Floyd’s death as demonstrators marched by. One of the men could be seen lying on the ground while the other knelt on his neck and yelled at the protesters.
Trump supporters are disgusting. These Franklinville, NJ Trump supporters mockingly re-enacted the George Floyd murder. This needs to go viral! Who is this man? pic.twitter.com/xOOV2F7yNs— Black Lives Matter (@HKrassenstein) June 8, 2020
DeMarco was subsequently suspended from his job at Bayside State Prison in Cumberland County. The other man, identified as Jim DeMarco, was fired from his job at FedEx.
Joe DeMarco was originally hired in 2002 and previously worked at the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility in Burlington County until 2019, according to the Cherry Hill Courier Post.
NJDOC previously called the video “hateful and disappointing.” The union that represents the state's correctional officers, NJ PBA Local 105, and Gov. Phil Murphy also rebuked the men's actions.
The Franklin Township Police Department is still conducting an investigation into the matter. Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any relevant information is encouraged to contact police.
Floyd, a black man, was killed on May 25 while in the custody of Minneapolis police, sparking nationwide demonstrations calling attention to police brutality and systemic racism.
Former officer Derek Chauvin, who knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, has been charged with second-degree murder. Three other former officers have been charged with aiding and abetting murder.