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N.J. Prison Guard Sacked Over Mock George Floyd Killing

On September 20, 2023, the New Jersey Civil Service Commission upheld a decision by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) allowing the state Department of Corrections (DOC) to fire a state prison guard involved in a mock killing of George Floyd during a Black Lives Matter protest. Joseph DeMarco, an 18-­year DOC veteran, was terminated from his position at Bayside State Prison after joining counter-­protestors who staged the stunt in June 2020.

At the time DOC said the guard’s “reckless and inflammatory” actions “show[ed] a profound disregard for consideration of public order and safety.” DOC attorneys later told Susan Olgiati, the ALJ who reviewed the firing, that the agency was “bombarded” with complaints after video of the mock funeral circulated on the internet.

Olgiati affirmed DOC’s firing decision in June 2023, noting that DeMarco failed “to stop or de-­escalate the offensive, inflammatory, derogatory and racially insensitive actions and comments” of his fellow counter-­protestors, while many of the protestors were local residents who could have recognized him as a DOC employee. Olgiati also said DeMarco’s claims that the counter-­protest left him in “shock” and “embarrassment” were not credible.   


Source: South Jersey Courier Post

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