Corrections Officer and FedEx Employee Penalized After an Offensive Reenactment of George Floyd’s Death


Jacqueline Kim, Staff Writer

Since the devastating death of George Floyd, many have worked to fight the injustice entrenched within our social systems, calling for justice long overdue. After the conversation of racial injustice and inequality overtook  the media, links to petitions, donation sites, and resources have dominated the attention of our country. Many lost cases, as well as new matters of mistreatment, have reached the surface of our news and media in the fight for restitution. A recent scandal in New Jersey threatened to subvert this movement and has received  the condemnation of the media.

The death of George Floyd turned the entire world on its heels, stirring movements across the country for black justice. Floyd was unjustly murdered on May 25 under custody of ex-policeman Derek Chauvin, who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, long past the point at which Floyd became unresponsive. Floyd’s death quickly provoked responses across the country, inspiring protests in many major cities, his death soon becoming the catalyst for one of the greatest Black Lives Matter movements. During the counter-protest, two men were seen participating in the recreation of Floyd’s death.

On Monday, June 1, while a Black Lives Matter protest was taking place in Franklin Township, NJ, a counter-protest fought for the attention of passersby and local officials. Those partaking in the counter-protest worked to undermine the support and attention from the BLM movement, brandishing “Trump 2020” posters and “All Lives Matter” signs. 

The “All Lives Matter” signs alone began to stir crowds. All across social media, the “All Lives Matter” rebuttal has received a lot of heat. In the midst of the Black Lives Matter movements, many have viewed the “All Lives Matter” counter as insensitive and belittling of the situation. BLM supporters argue that the statement ignores the fact that during this time, the focus must be on BLACK lives and BLACK rights alone, and the “All Lives Matter” dispute distracts from that campaign. Although most would quickly agree that ‘all lives’ do matter, is it important to support and sympathize with the black community in this time, and serve them with our complete diligence. The “All Lives Matter” counter threatens to drive that attention further and further from our central focus within this time: the black community.

However, the most shocking asset to the counter-protest was a reenactment of the death of George Floyd. One lay on the ground while the other placed a knee on his neck. The portrayal was perceived with great offense and anger, making its rounds across social media and quickly gaining much attention as a blatant mockery of both Floyd’s death and the entirety of the Black Lives Matter movement. Thousands of social media users have demanded that the corrections officer and FedEx employee who were involved in the reenactment be penalized. And similarly to Derek Chauvin’s case, the online media’s pressure soon served justice: the corrections officer has since been suspended while the FedEx employee was fired. 

After the offensive reenactment went viral across social media platforms, both the New Jersey Department of Corrections and FedEx have made statements in regards to the behaviors of their employees. The NJ Department of Corrections has acknowledged the demonstration as “hateful and disappointing,” confirming that the concerned officer would be “pending a thorough and expedited investigation.” FedEx has followed up with a statement regarding their ex-employee’s conduct, stating, “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.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy himself has openly revealed his own stance within the conflict, stating, “Mocking George Floyd’s murder in effort to belittle the calls for justice from our Black and Brown communities is repugnant. I condemn this behavior in the strongest terms possible.” Governor Murphy continued on Twitter, tweeting that the state would “not let the actions of a few distract from our progress toward dismantling systemic racism.”