As Russell Sampson marched in the peaceful protest in his hometown of Franklinville on Monday, he captured a video of one man kneeling on the back of another’s neck, imitating the way in which George Floyd was killed.
“That was a real person, yes, who was willing to get down and show such hate,” said Sampson.
Monday’s peaceful Black Lives Matter Protest was organized by Daryan Fennal. While it wasn’t a large gathering, it made an impact especially online.
“What goes viral is all the negativity, like this video that came out and is being shared thousands of times. I want to share that ultimately the intentions were pure and we were all about unity,” said Fennal.
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One of the men participating in the counter-protest is a New Jersey Department of Corrections Officer.
The NJDOC has since suspended the officer pending investigation and released this statement:
“We have been made aware that one of our officers from Bayside State Prison participated in the filming of a hateful and disappointing video that mocked the killing of George Floyd. The individual has been suspended from their post and banned from NJDOC facilities pending a thorough and expedited investigation.”
Sampson says it’s another reason why speaking up, marching and protesting is essential.
“With this individual being a corrections officer, he’s facilitating over other minorities and prisoners who are minorities. So, we can only imagine what type of injustice they may be facing every day that they cannot speak on. We need to be their voice,” said Sampson.
FedEx identified one of their employees was also involved in the video. They initially suspended the employee pending investigation, releasing this statement:
“The behavior depicted in the video, which involved a FedEx employee, is appalling and offensive. The employee in question was immediately removed from all FedEx work duties while our investigation is concluded and all internal procedures are followed. A diverse and inclusive workforce is at the heart of our business, and we stand with those who support justice and equality.”
But the company has since said he no longer works for FedEx, releasing another statement:
“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. The individual involved is no longer employed by FedEx. We stand with those who support justice and equality.”
There is another Black Lives Matter protest scheduled in Franklinville on Saturday morning.