NJDOC wants CO involved in Floyd death reenactment removed

The correctional police officer was among a group of men who mocked and taunted protesters earlier this month


By Rodrigo Torrejon
NJ Advance Media Group

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, N.J. — The New Jersey Department of Corrections has filed removal charges against the correctional police officer involved in a reenactment of George Floyd’s killing as protestors marched against police violence and racism in Franklinville earlier this month.

The DOC did not name the officer in the announcement posted to the department’s social media accounts, though he has previously been identified as Joseph DeMarco, who worked at Bayside State Prison.

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

DeMarco was among a group of men who mocked and taunted protesters June 8 as they marched past a firewood business on Delsea Drive in Franklinville, a section of Franklin Township in Gloucester County.

The group of white men with a President Trump banner behind them, and a “Thin Blue Line” flag and sign reading “All lives matter” a few feet away, shouted at protesters as one had his knee on the back of a man’s neck, reenacting how Floyd died.

“You don’t comply, that’s what happens,” the kneeling man is heard saying in one video. “You don’t comply, that’s what happens right here, look. He didn’t comply. He didn’t comply. If he would’ve complied, it wouldn’t have happened. It’s his own fault, that’s why he’s dead.”

Those in the march were holding signs and chanting “Black Lives Matter,” escorted by Franklin Township police officers in patrol cars.

In the same video, seemingly filmed by one of the men participating in the reenactment, a man is heard responding to chants of “Black Lives Matter” with “To no one.”

George Floyd, who was being arrested for alleged forgery, was not armed and did not appear to be resisting arrest, according to multiple reports. The fired officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes was ultimately charged with second-degree murder. The three other officers involved were also fired and were all later charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.

Floyd’s death sparked a torrent of protests across the world, with people taking to the streets protesting police brutality, specifically against Black people.

DeMarco was hired in 2002 and worked at Albert C. Wagner Youth Correctional Facility in Burlington County until January 2019, when he moved to Bayside. Union and DOC officials identified DeMarco as the man seen leaning against a pole in the videos, filming protesters as they march by.

Another reenactor was identified as an employee of FedEx, which a company spokesperson confirmed the day after the reenactment. That same day, the company said they’d fired the employee, saying, “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.”

Franklin Township Police continue to investigate a small fire at the DeMarco property after the march. Township Fire Marshal Anthony Baldosaro previously said that stacks of firewood in front of the property along the road were burned. The fire was minor and is now under criminal investigation, he said. As of Thursday morning, the fire is still under criminal investigation, said Police Lt. Matt DeCesari.

On June 13, protesters once again took to the streets to march on Delsea Drive, in defiance of what had happened just days prior. The march went on largely without incident and when protesters passed the firewood business. But an unidentified white man began arguing with some protesters near the same area.

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©2020 NJ Advance Media Group, Edison, N.J.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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