A corrections officer and a FedEx employee have been identified as among the counter-protestors seen on video taunting demonstrators at a protest in New Jersey by reenacting the death of George Floyd.
The two men were recorded screaming at peaceful protestors as they walked down a street in Franklin Township, New Jersey.
With American flags and a large “Trump” sign posted on pickup trucks behind them, one of the men appeared to kneel on the other while shouting, “this is what happens when you don't comply with the cops" and at one point adding: “It's his fault he's dead, not the cop!"
The performative counter protest could be seen as a reenactment of Mr Floyd’s death, who passed away last month after a white police officer in Minneapolis kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes while he pleaded for his life. Mr Floyd was a 46-year-old black man from Houston, Texas, and unarmed at the time of his death, which was captured on video and has since sparked global demonstrations against racism and police brutality.
Both of the men have been suspended from their jobs. Their counter-protest has since become the subject of condemnation from local officials, including the police chief, mayor and even Governor Phil Murphy (D—NJ), who said in a statement: “Mocking George Floyd´s murder in effort to belittle the calls for justice from our Black and Brown communities is repugnant.”
The New Jersey Department of Corrections confirmed one of its employees was seen on the videos recorded by protestors mourning the death of Mr Floyd. In a statement posted to Facebook, the corrections department wrote: “We have been made aware that one of our officers participated in the filming of a hateful and disappointing video that mocked the killing of George Floyd.”
It added the employee would be suspended and banned from state facilities “pending a thorough and expedited investigation”.
FedEx also posted a statement to social media confirming one of its employees were seen on the viral videos shared from the demonstrations, writing on Twitter: “The [behaviour] depicted in the video, which involved a FedEx employee, is appalling and offensive.”
The company continued: “The employee in question was immediately removed from all FedEx work duties while our investigation is concluded and all internal procedures are followed.”
Police Chief Brian Zimmer released a joint statement on Tuesday with Franklin Township Mayor John Bruno describing the brothers’ counter protest as “revolting”, adding: “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.”
Protests have continued for weeks in cities across the country, as demonstrators demanded justice for Mr Floyd’s killing and an end to institutional racism and excessive force against black and brown communities.
The city of Houston held memorial services for Mr Floyd on Tuesday.
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