By ELLA TORRES, ABC News
(TRENTON, N.J.) — New Jersey’s Department of Corrections has removed an officer after a video purportedly showed him mocking the death of George Floyd.
The agency tweeted Tuesday that “removal charges have been served” on the officer, who was identified by the local union as Joseph DeMarco.
Joseph Sullivan, president of PBA Local 105, the state’s largest corrections union, told ABC News that while DeMarco can appeal the removal charges, the department has administratively suspended him without pay.
DeMarco had previously been suspended and banned from facilities “pending a thorough and expedited investigation,” according to a statement from the department.
Sullivan said the union would not be representing DeMarco, who could not be reached by ABC News.
“As a union, we chose not to support Mr. DeMarco in his disciplinary hearings due to the fact and nature of the charges,” Sullivan said.
The video that showed DeMarco and other white men was taken at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in the New Jersey township of Franklinville on June 8. As protesters peacefully marched along a road, a white man is seen kneeling on the back of another’s neck, imitating the way in which Floyd was killed.
Prosecutors have said Floyd, a black man, died after former officer Derek Chauvin, a white man, kneeled on his neck for nearly eight minutes.
Another unnamed individual who took part in the video — a FedEx employee — has been fired.
The Department of Corrections called it “hateful and disappointing.” FedEx said in a statement that the company does “not tolerate the kind of appalling and offensive behavior depicted in this video.”
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy wrote in a tweet that he condemned the behavior “in the strongest terms possible.”
“Mocking George Floyd’s murder in an effort to belittle the calls for justice from our Black and Brown communities is repugnant. … We won’t let the actions of a few distract from our progress toward dismantling systemic racism,” Murphy wrote.
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