11:33 PM - June 10, 2020
11:33 PM - June 10, 2020

Recap: Mayor Kenney authorized use of tear gas; protests continue but crowds decreasing

Mayor Jim Kenney and other top city officials authorized the use of tear gas to control the crowds as protests escalated in West Philadelphia on May 31, Managing Director Brian Abernathy said during a City Council budget hearing Wednesday.

That broad authorization came the day after Center City first erupted with violence and looting following a large but peaceful demonstration.

The decision of whether and when to use “less than lethal munitions,” which includes tear gas, was left to police supervisors on the ground, Abernathy said. Kenney was not involved in specifically authorizing the use of tear gas on protesters who marched onto Interstate 676 on June 1, a city spokesperson said, and learned of the incident shortly after it happened.

The hearing unfolded amid the 12th day of protests in Philadelphia spurred by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Demonstrations have been peaceful for several days, and crowds have decreased in number since Saturday, when thousands of peaceful marchers filled the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The Pennsylvania National Guard, which had been deployed in the city since June 1, packed up to leave but would “remain on call,” a city spokesperson said Wednesday.

Read more of our coverage of today’s events:

5:23 PM - June 10, 2020
5:23 PM - June 10, 2020

Philly teachers protest at school district over environmental dangers in schools

A car outside Philadelphia School District headquarters decorated to protest racism and environmental racism.
Kristen A. Graham
A car outside Philadelphia School District headquarters decorated to protest racism and environmental racism.

A group of a few dozen teachers and supporters demanding racial and environmental justice stood outside Philadelphia School District headquarters Wednesday, blasting the school system for allowing asbestos and other environmental toxins to linger in buildings where tens of thousands of poor black children attend school.

“Black lives matter! Black lives matter!” teacher Herman Douglas shouted into a tinny microphone. “We will not stand for asbestos in our black and brown schools. This is not ok.”

Educators caravaned from Bethune, in North Philadelphia, to the school system’s Center City headquarters, drawing attention to an April major asbestos removal job at their school that was mishandled. While environmental workers walked around in protective gear, teachers volunteered at the COVID-19-closed school to prepare computers for distribution, and families picked up free meals. They did not learn about the asbestos contamination until they read about it in The Inquirer.

“Our people should not be near that, period,” Douglas said. Schools like Bethune are “environments in which we can die.”

In a statement Wednesday night, the district said: “There was a delay in our sending updates of this work to staff at Bethune and we are committed to doing better in the future.”

Lea DiRusso, a longtime Philadelphia teacher, contracted mesothelioma, an especially toxic form of cancer, after teaching in district buildings with known damaged asbestos.

Councilmember Kendra Brooks said toxins must be removed to save childrens’ lives.

“Poverty should not be a death sentence,” Brooks said.

— Kristen A. Graham

4:12 PM - June 10, 2020
4:12 PM - June 10, 2020

Protest of environmental racism begins outside Philly School District HQ

— Kristen A. Graham

3:51 PM - June 10, 2020
3:51 PM - June 10, 2020

Backlash over George Floyd tweet forces out CrossFit founder

The founder and CEO of CrossFit is stepping down after his tweet about George Floyd sparked a social media backlash and a wave of affiliated gyms cut ties with the company.

Reebok also dropped its affiliation with CrossFit this week.

Greg Glassman wrote on CrossFit's website late Tuesday that he would retire. Glassman had apologized earlier for tweets that sparked online outrage by connecting Floyd, an African American man who died at the hands of the Minneapolis police, and the coronavirus pandemic. He said he had made a mistake and should have been more sensitive, but denied being racist.

“On Saturday I created a rift in the CrossFit community and unintentionally hurt many of its members," Glassman said. “I cannot let my behavior stand in the way of HQ’s or affiliates’ missions.”

— Associated Press

3:39 PM - June 10, 2020
3:39 PM - June 10, 2020

Boyds to remain closed ‘for the near future’ after store was looted

Boyds, one of Center City Philadelphia’s best-known independent upscale retailers, will remain closed “for the near future” after the store was looted amid protests against police brutality and racial injustice last week.

The store was already closed due to coronavirus business restrictions, but in a statement, shop owners said that, prior to the looting, they were planning to reopen soon.

“While we were very much looking forward to reopening our doors to serve our community soon, we have no choice but for our store and our website to now remain closed for the near future,” the statement read. “As our community heals, we are taking appropriate steps to safely return to business as soon as we’re able.”

— Oona Goodin-Smith

3:21 PM - June 10, 2020
3:21 PM - June 10, 2020

As protests and looting spread across city, Philadelphians said they couldn’t reach 911

Police lead a handcuffed person into a Sheriff’s Office bus on Monday, June 1.
File Photograph
Police lead a handcuffed person into a Sheriff’s Office bus on Monday, June 1.

As protests and looting unfolded across Philadelphia last Saturday, City Councilmember Isaiah Thomas said he attempted to call 911 several times and could not get through.

Thomas said he went out to witness the scene last Saturday night, and spoke with a woman who had been shot and was trying to call 911. Thomas said he tried himself about 10 times to get through, but could not. The woman drove to the scene of protests, he said, to find police and seek help.

“No one was home,” Thomas said. “I called 911 myself, multiple times. Probably 10 times that night.”

Thomas told the story during a City Council hearing on the city’s police department budget Wednesday.

“I don’t want to make people frantic or anything like that, but I’m 100% sure,” Thomas said, when asked by Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw to clarify whether 911 operators answered his calls.

Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson said he had also heard from several constituents that calls to 911 that night went unanswered.

— Laura McCrystal

2:18 PM - June 10, 2020
2:18 PM - June 10, 2020

Kenney administration approved police use of tear gas amid Philly protests

Tear gas is fired at protestors who previously gathered on the Vine Street Expressway blocking traffic in Philadelphia on June 1.
File Photograph
Tear gas is fired at protestors who previously gathered on the Vine Street Expressway blocking traffic in Philadelphia on June 1.

Mayor Jim Kenney and other top officials in his administration approved the use of tear gas last week, as protests continued in the city over the killing of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said individual decisions to deploy tear gas were left up to police supervisors on the streets, but the city’s unified command group had broadly approved its use.

That command group includes Kenney, Outlaw, Managing Director Brian Abernathy, Kenney’s chief of staff Jim Engler, Fire Commissioner Adam Thiel, City Solicitor Marcel Pratt, and First Deputy Managing Director Tumar Alexander.

Philadelphia police faced criticism last week for the use of tear gas on protesters who marched onto Interstate 676. In response to questions about that situation during a City Council budget hearing for the police department Wednesday, Abernathy said there was an “overarching decision” to allow the use of tear gas and other “less than lethal munitions.”

That broad authorization was given last Sunday, in response to protests in West Philadelphia, city spokesperson Mike Dunn said, “and not in response to Monday’s demonstration.” But the policy applied generally to all the continuing protests.

“It was left to the commander on ground to make the determination as it was deemed necessary,” Outlaw said.

Councilmember Helen Gym, who asked about the authorization during Wednesday’s budget hearing and has called for an end to police use of tear gas and rubber bullets on peaceful protesters, said Kenney’s involvement was “news to me.”

Outlaw said the police have launched an “after-action analysis” of the use of less than lethal munitions during protests.

— Laura McCrystal

2:13 PM - June 10, 2020
2:13 PM - June 10, 2020

‘The safest communities are not the ones with the most police’

A few dozen people gathered around the Octavius Valentine Catto statue at City Hall Wednesday afternoon to share personal stories of police violence in Philadelphia and to call on the city to defund the police department and invest in community services.

“The safest communities are not the ones with the most police,” said Nicolas O’Rourke, the director of organizing for the Working Families Party. “The safest communities are the ones with the most resources.”

The event was organized by the Amistad Law Project and came on the afternoon that city officials would testify to City Council to approve a $750 million budget for the police department.

The speakers heavily criticized Mayor Jim Kenney for originally opting to increase the police department’s budget, while defunding other educational services in the city, including the free library, arts and culture, and parks and recreation departments. A few speakers talked about the violence they endured by police while protesting last week.

“What the hell do we have to lose? Are we not losing already?” said speaker Ryan Davis, 34. “It’s not just the police. We have to look at these prosecutors, these judges.”

“There is no fixing [this system],” Davis said, “we must dismantle it and build a new one.”

Kempis Songster, who was incarcerated for 30 years, talked about the pipeline police have created that imprisons black and brown people. Songster, the Healing Justice Organizer for Amistad Law Project, cited the report released earlier this week by Save the Children, a highly regarded worldwide charity, that said children in Philadelphia are among the most disadvantaged when it comes to nutrition, poverty, and related issues.

“A budget that defunds libraries, recreation centers, homeless services...,” he said, “is not the way to improve a city among the worst counties for little children.”

“Children over cops!” he chanted.

— Ellie Rushing

1:53 PM - June 10, 2020
1:53 PM - June 10, 2020

N.J. mayor criticized for saying he’s pro ‘good black people’

The mayor of Clark Township in Union County, N.J. is being criticized for telling demonstrators he was pro “good black people” during a protest on Saturday.

In a video filmed by protester Reid Alexander Ranalli and provided to NJ Advance Media, Republican Mayor Sal Bonaccorso was pressed by demonstrators to declare he was “pro-black.”

“Why is it so weird to be able to just say, ‘I am pro-black?’ “ an unidentified demonstrator asked the mayor.

“I am pro-black for all the good black people that I know in my life,” Bonaccorso said, leading to groans and complaints from the crowd.

“Hey folks, 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,” Bonaccorso added. “If you’re black, great. If you’re white, great. If you’re Hispanic, great. It doesn’t matter. I judge people on how you judge me.”

Bonaccorso told the Inquirer that, in hindsight, his comments “may have fallen short” of his goal of making it clear Clark Township is a place where everyone should feel welcome.

“An attendee asked me, ‘Are you pro-black?’ The answer is of course, and unequivocally, yes. I also truly believe that Black Lives Matter,” 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.”

Rahway Mayor Raymond A. Giacobbe, who was in attendance, defended Bonaccorso to the crowd, according to NJ Advance Media.

“I am going to tell you right now, this man is not a racist,” Giacobbe, a Democrat, reportedly said. “But, he could not have an understanding of what the African Americans are going through in this town because he has not ever had to experience that. Let’s have that dialogue to make him understand the hurt that it feels to drive through Clark as an African American and get pulled over. Make him understand that we want change with those types of actions.”

— Rob Tornoe

1:35 PM - June 10, 2020
1:35 PM - June 10, 2020

West Philly musicians hold a rooftop concert for Black Lives Matter

— Lauren Schneiderman

11:55 AM - June 10, 2020
11:55 AM - June 10, 2020

Reports find no evidence antifa members causing violence during protests

A worker is seen inside a damaged structure in Dilworth Park clean up begins the day after protests in Philadelphia, Pa. on May 31, 2020.
DAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer
A worker is seen inside a damaged structure in Dilworth Park clean up begins the day after protests in Philadelphia, Pa. on May 31, 2020.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly blamed anti-fascist activists, who call themselves antifa, for the violence and looting that erupted last week out of largely peaceful protests in the wake of the death of George Flood.

On Tuesday, Trump falsely suggested a 75-year-old protester in Buffalo, N.Y. who bled from his head after being shoved to the ground by police, might be an “antifa provocateur.” In reality, Martin Gugino is a longtime activist who has taken part in demonstrations against military drones, climate change, nuclear weapons, and police brutality.

NPR reporter Ryan Lewis reviewed court documents of 51 people currently facing federal charges in connection with unrest at protests in 18 states. As of Tuesday morning, none are alleged to be linked to or have any involvement with the antifa movement.

From the NPR report:

The single instance in which an extremist group is mentioned in court documents is a case against three Nevada men. Federal prosecutors allege the trio belong to the right-wing Boogaloo movement that wants to bring about a civil war. The men have been charged with plotting violence during Las Vegas protests.

The Associated Press, after analyzing 217 people arrested in Minneapolis and Washington D.C., reported there is little evidence outside agitators are creating unrest, noting 85% of those arrested by police were local residents.

Attorney General William Barr said the lack of cases so far involving alleged antifa agitators doesn’t absolve them from blame for the violence.

“We have some investigations underway, very focused investigations on certain individuals that relate to antifa,” Attorney General William Barr said during a Fox News interview on Monday. “But in the initial phase of identifying people and arresting them, they were arrested for crimes that don’t require us to identify a particular group or don’t necessitate that.”

— Rob Tornoe

11:00 AM - June 10, 2020
11:00 AM - June 10, 2020

'Stop us from being tired’: Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, testifies before Congress

Philonise Floyd, a brother of George Floyd, arrives to testify before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on proposed changes to police practices and accountability on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, in Washington. (Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP)
Michael Reynolds / AP
Philonise Floyd, a brother of George Floyd, arrives to testify before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on proposed changes to police practices and accountability on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, June 10, 2020, in Washington. (Michael Reynolds/Pool via AP)

Philonise Floyd, a brother of George Floyd, says he’s testifying to Congress today because he wants his brother’s death to be “more than another name” on a growing list of those killed during interactions with police.

Floyd’s appearance before a House hearing Wednesday comes a day after funeral services for George Floyd, who has become a worldwide symbol in demonstrations calling for changes to police practices and an end to racial prejudices.

“I’m tired. I’m tired of the pain I’m feeling now and I’m tired of the pain I feel every time another black person is killed for no reason,” Floyd said. “I’m here today to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired.”

“The people marching in the streets are telling you enough is enough. Be the leaders that this country, this world, needs. Do the right thing," Floyd added.

— Associated Press

10:30 AM - June 10, 2020
10:30 AM - June 10, 2020

Mayor’s office: Demobilization of the National Guard ‘currently underway’

Members of the National Guard watch protesters in Philadelphia, Pa. on Sunday, June 7, 2020.
MONICA HERNDON / Staff Photographer
Members of the National Guard watch protesters in Philadelphia, Pa. on Sunday, June 7, 2020.

The Pennsylvania National Guard, which deployed in Philadelphia on Monday, June 1 following a weekend of widespread looting and violence, will begin to leave the city today, according to Mayor Jim Kenney’s office.

“Demobilization of the National Guard is currently underway. They will, however, remain in the area for the next few days in the event their support is needed again,” a spokesperson said Tuesday.

The city wouldn’t disclose the exact location of the National Guard, but said “they remain on-call if they are needed again.”

Gov. Tom Wolf’s office was not immediately available for comment.

The move comes following several days of peaceful protests in Philadelphia, where there were few arrests and little to no violence.

— Chris Palmer

10:15 AM - June 10, 2020
10:15 AM - June 10, 2020

‘I want to make it permanent and not a stunt’

All ages came out for the painting of "End of Racism Now" at E. Girard and E. Montgomery Avenues in Fishtown section of Philadelphia on June 9, 2020.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
All ages came out for the painting of "End of Racism Now" at E. Girard and E. Montgomery Avenues in Fishtown section of Philadelphia on June 9, 2020.

As rumors began to circulate on social media Wednesday morning that the Fishtown “End Racism Now” street mural that Troy Musto and his daughter, Stella, helped to paint last night had already washed away, Musto said he had to see the scene for himself.

“I’m glad to see it’s still here,” he said, standing with Stella near the bold yellow letters in front of the 26th Police District. “But if it was just a PR stunt, if it was just condescension that can be washed away, I want to make it not a joke, I want to make it permanent and not a stunt.”

“We didn’t come out here to paint last night for any PR stunt, we came to support Black Lives Matter,” Musto said, adding that after a tumultuous week in the neighborhood, the scene last night in Fishtown was “beautiful.”

“People were out here last night who would have not otherwise come out,” he said.

When David Formaya heard the mural was still in the street this morning, he biked from his home in Center City to Fishtown to take photos.

“Hopefully it stays around for a while,” he said.

A spokesperson from Mayor Jim Kenney’s office said the city “has no intentions of removing it as this time.”

Formaya said he participated in his first protest ever at the Art Museum on Saturday, where thousands showed up to demonstrate against police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

“It was powerful,” he said. “I had my reservations with covid, and with things going awry, but some friends convinced me to go, and I’m glad I went.”

— Oona Goodin-Smith

9:45 AM - June 10, 2020
9:45 AM - June 10, 2020

Carson Wentz among the 1,400 signatures backing bill to end qualified immunity for police

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is one of over 1,400 current and former professional athletes and coaches backing a bill to end qualified immunity for police officers.
HEATHER KHALIFA / Staff Photographer
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is one of over 1,400 current and former professional athletes and coaches backing a bill to end qualified immunity for police officers.

Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is one of more than 1,400 current and former professional athletes and coaches who are backing a bill to end qualified immunity for police officers, which makes it difficult to sue cops for brutality and misconduct.

The Ending Qualified Immunity Act, introduced in the House on June 4 following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, would prevent state government officials from raising a qualified immunity defense in a civil rights suit.

“Qualified immunity shields police from accountability, impedes true justice, and undermines the constitutional rights of every person in this country,” Rep. Pressley (D., Mass), one of the bill’s sponsors, said last week. Reps. Justin Amash (L., Mich.), the bill’s other sponsor, said police officers "must be held accountable when they violate people’s rights.”

The bill currently has 39 cosponsors in the House, but so far no Republican has publicly backed the bill.

In addition to Wentz and former teammate Malcom Jenkins, the Players Coalition letter backing the legislation was signed by other notable athletes and coaches, including:

  • New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady
  • Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott
  • Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman
  • Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr
  • San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

— Rob Tornoe

8:57 AM - June 10, 2020
8:57 AM - June 10, 2020

‘End Racism Now’ painting in Fishtown not erased from street overnight, organizer denies police involvement

A mural that reads "End Racism Now" was painted onto E. Girard at Montgomery in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia. Photograph from Wednesday morning.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer
A mural that reads "End Racism Now" was painted onto E. Girard at Montgomery in the Fishtown section of Philadelphia. Photograph from Wednesday morning.

“End Racism Now” was the message demonstrators in Fishtown had for the city on Tuesday, painting the words in bold yellow letters on Girard Avenue, just outside Philadelphia police’s 26th District headquarters. It was also near the same spot where protesters and neighborhood men armed with bats faced off last week, which let to residents being assaulted and antagonized.

According to a spokesperson for Mayor Jim Kenney, the city said the words could remain until they “faded naturally.” But John T. Brice, pastor of St. James United Methodist Church who organized the event, requested the words be removed overnight to ensure the streets remained safe with clear driving lines.

The city’s fire department attempted unsuccessfully to clean off the paint Tuesday night, so the phrase remained on the street Wednesday morning, despite rumors on social media it had been washed away.

The spokesperson said the city “has no intentions of removing it as this time.”

Painting of "End of Racism Now" at E. Girard and E. Montgomery Avenues on June 9, 2020.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Painting of "End of Racism Now" at E. Girard and E. Montgomery Avenues on June 9, 2020.

Brice said he was hurt to hear people call him a “pawn” for organizing the event and inviting law enforcement to take part. But to him as a minister, engaging with police officers does more to facilitate healing than ostracizing them, he said.

The street painting was a grassroots efforts that he said he and several other community members began planning Monday.

“This is nothing that the local 26th precinct wanted to do,” Brice said. “Capt. [William] Fisher had an option to even cancel.”

While Brice would’ve loved for the words to be permanently etched in Fishtown, he said it would have taken more time for the city to approve such a permit. He and fellow organizers didn’t want to wait and lose the momentum of last week’s peaceful anti-racism protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed when a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Without permission to make the “End Racism Now” message permanent, Brice said he reached out to Fishtown police around 5 p.m. Tuesday, shortly before the painting was to begin. He told them the community was hurting, he said, and he wanted to keep the conversation going. Capt. Fisher could have called off the painting, Brice said, but he gave organizers the OK.

As a few hundred people painted the letters, as well as the names Donta Dawson and David Jones, two local victims of police brutality, police stood nearby, Brice said. At one point, Brice said he approached Capt. Fisher and invited him to take part.

“Matthew 5:9 calls me to a peacemaker, not a peacekeeper,” the pastor said. “I have to be intentional."

Captain William Fisher of the 26th Police Department joins in the painting of "End of Racism Now" and victims names at E. Girard and E. Montgomery Avenues on June 9, 2020.
CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Captain William Fisher of the 26th Police Department joins in the painting of "End of Racism Now" and victims names at E. Girard and E. Montgomery Avenues on June 9, 2020.

Brice said he understands residents’ anger and hurt, but he doesn’t think pushing out the captain or other officers is the solution. He pointed to the Florida police organization that said it would re-hire anyone who fires or resigns due to misconduct.

“That would shift the racism but that does not solve the racism,” Brice said. “Allowing Capt. Fisher to learn, to apologize, to take intentional steps … is what changes the heart of the community.”

— Erin McCarthy and Rob Tornoe

8:25 AM - June 10, 2020
8:25 AM - June 10, 2020

Philly won’t estimate the size of Saturday’s enormous protest crowd

Demonstrators protest social injustice by the police at the Philadelphia Museum of Art along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, June 6, 2020.
YONG KIM / Staff Photographer
Demonstrators protest social injustice by the police at the Philadelphia Museum of Art along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Saturday, June 6, 2020.

It was clear to anyone there that the protest against police brutality that took place Saturday on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway was enormous.

Thousands of people flooded the space around the Philadelphia Museum of Art, then marched toward City Hall demanding racial justice. Helicopter footage of the crowd spanning the Parkway made national news.

But what’s still not clear is just how many thousands of people there were.

A city spokesperson said officials do not give crowd size estimates for “demonstrations" or First Amendment activities. The Philadelphia Police Department also declined to provide a crowd estimate, referring questions to the administration.

But in 2017 on the day of the first Women’s March after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, a now-former Philadelphia city spokesperson said 50,000 people attended. The figure was widely cited.

Current spokesperson Kelly Cofrancisco said there are differences between organized events, such as the Women’s March demonstrations, and those without permits. She said permitted event organizers often provide the city with their own estimates, and the city didn’t give an estimate for the Eagles Super Bowl parade or annual events like Welcome America.

As for the 50,000 Women’s March figure? “It is likely that the numbers provided came from event organizers,” Cofrancisco said.

— Anna Orso

7:30 AM - June 10, 2020
7:30 AM - June 10, 2020

More protests planned in and around Philadelphia on Wednesday

Mike Ewall of Northeast Philadelphia hold a "Defund the Police" sign as he attends a demonstration against racism in Northeast Philadelphia - and Justice for George June 9, 2020. Protesters marched from the Fox Chase School to the War Memorial at the Five Points intersection of Cottman, Rising Sun, and Oxford Avenues.
TOM GRALISH / Staff Photographer
Mike Ewall of Northeast Philadelphia hold a "Defund the Police" sign as he attends a demonstration against racism in Northeast Philadelphia - and Justice for George June 9, 2020. Protesters marched from the Fox Chase School to the War Memorial at the Five Points intersection of Cottman, Rising Sun, and Oxford Avenues.

On what will be the 12th-straight day of protests in and around Philadelphia, several demonstrations are planned near the city Wednesday. They include:

— Rob Tornoe

7:00 AM - June 10, 2020
7:00 AM - June 10, 2020

N.J. corrections officer suspended for apparently mocking George Floyd’s death

Image from video posted on Instagram showing one man kneeling on the neck of another man mocking the death of George Floyd while a Black Lives Matter march was passing by on Monday in Franklin Township, Gloucester County.
Instagram
Image from video posted on Instagram showing one man kneeling on the neck of another man mocking the death of George Floyd while a Black Lives Matter march was passing by on Monday in Franklin Township, Gloucester County.

A New Jersey corrections officer has been suspended after video was posted online of two men — one kneeling on the other’s neck, apparently mocking the death of George Floyd — at a protest march on Monday in Gloucester County.

The other man involved in the incident was an employee of FedEx, the company confirmed. On Tuesday night, FedEx said in a statement that he no longer worked there because of the video. Earlier in the day the company said the man, who was not identified, had been removed from all work duties and the incident was under internal investigation.

During the march in support of Black Lives Matter, a small group of counterprotesters are seen on the side of the road in Franklin Township with a Trump campaign banner, several American flags and a variation known as the “thin blue line” flag, and a sign that reads: “All Lives Matter.” In a video shared on Instagram, the man kneeling is seen yelling at the protesters as they pass.

— Robert Moran