NJ protesters stand strong for change

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Swedesboro, NJ (Photo by Jeff Ackley on Unsplash)
By Bradford Mason

Protesters are standing strong with their continued calls for changes to how law enforcement operates in the Garden State during the aftermath of the police killing of Black, unarmed George Floyd, even in the midst of hateful criticism.

As demonstration continue across New Jersey advocating for Black lives, white counter-protesters are also making their voices heard. A viral video from a Black Lives Matter protest this week in Franklin Township, NJ shows two white men mocking Floyd's killing as peaceful demonstrators made their way down the street.

One of the white man was lying on the ground while another white man had his knee on the other white man's neck. A Trump an American flags were behind them when they recreated the scene and f Floyd’s death.

"Comply with the cops and this wouldn't have happened," one of the white men said. "He didn't comply with the cops."

The white man was reportedly identified as Joseph DiMarco, a corrections office with the New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC). The other man was indentified as a FedEx employee. The NJDOC said in a statement that DiMarco was suspended.

"We have been made aware that one of our officers participating the filming of a hateful and disappointing video mocking the death of George Floyd," NJDOC said. "The individual has been suspended from their post and banned form NJDOC facilities pending a thorough and expedited investigation." 

FedEx said in a statement that the employee seen in the video was fired.

“The behavior depicted in the video, which involved a FedEx employee, is appalling and offensive,” th company said. “The employee in question was immediately removed from all FedEx work duties while our investigation is concluded and all internal procedures are followed.

Reports indicate that white Clark Township Mayor Sal Bonaccorso is getting backlash over comments he made at a protest rally when someone asked if he was pro-Black.

"I am pro-Black for all the good Black people that I know in my life," Bonaccorso said to the crowd, who reacted negatively to his response. "Hey folks, listen, I can't say I'm for anybody if I don't know you. I'm for people. Good people, law-abiding, hard-working, good family, good friends, people with good intentions. If you're Black great, if you're white, great. If you're Hispanic, great."

Those in attendance criticized Bonaccorso for his statements saying he was out of touch with the issues. He later apologized in a statement.

"I pride myself on the fact that I never judge someone based on their skin color; but, only on who they are as a person and how they treat others," Bonaccorso said. "I recognize that my remarks may not have accurately represented how I feel. Although I’ve been Mayor for a long time, I am still learning."

Protests continue to take place throughout New Jersey including demonstrations in Wall Township, South Brunswick, Franklinville, Princeton, Roselle, Metuchen, Floral Park and Cranbury.

On June 19, on the holiday celebrating the official ending of slavery in America known as Juneteenth, protests are taking place in Teaneck at Teaneck High School and the Somerset County Courthouse in Sommerville.

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