Murphy Calls Floyd Mocking ‘Repugnant’ — Cop Suspended, FedEx Worker Fired
Gov. Phil Murphy said it was "repugnant" that a group of men, including a state correctional police officer, mocked the death of George Floyd on the sidelines of an anti-racism rally in the Franklinville section of Franklin on Monday.
"We won’t let the actions of a few distract from our progress toward dismantling systemic racism," the governor wrote on Twitter.
Two of the men were identified on social media as Department of Corrections officer Joseph DeMarco, who was suspended by the department on Tuesday, and his brother, James DeMarco, who has been fired by FedEx.
Video shows three men in front of a Trump campaign banner, an "all lives matter" sign and the American flag taunting the anti-racism marchers. One of the men is lying face down on the ground while another kneels on him, suggesting the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, which has sparked thousands of demonstrations across the country.
Demonstrators were walking on Delsea Drive. Daryan Fennal, 21, told the New York Times that the men yelled insults and one said, "If George Floyd would have complied he wouldn’t be dead."
The New Jersey Department of Corrections said one of the participants was a correctional police officer who was suspended pending a "thorough and expedited investigation."
The officer was identified by PBA Local 105 president William Sullivan as the man in the video standing off to the side in a black shirt.
"The act in general put a real bad mark on the Department of Corrections and our correctional police officers that go to work everyday and act professional," Sullivan told the Townsquare News Network on Wednesday. "We don't tolerate these incidents and its unfortunate that something like this is going to reflect poorly on all the staff including the ones that do their job everyday."
Public records show DeMarco worked at the Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility as of 2019, earning $93,000 a year with overtime, before moving to the Bayside Correctional Facility in Maurice River.
The union will not be involved with his legal counsel, according to Sullivan.
Sullivan said another correctional police officer who works the South Woods State Prison and shares the same name has been the target of negative comments about the video.
"He's a great guy and had nothing to do with the situation," Sullivan said.
FedEx fired the other brother, according to a response from the company.
"FedEx holds its team members to a high standard 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," FedEx said on Twitter.
Officials in the Gloucester County municipality said 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 in a message posted on the municipal website.
The video contains graphic language and depictions of violence.