Shop Rite in Skillman, NJ (Google Maps)
By Glenn Townes
At a time when racial tensions across the country are at a boiling point, a white supermarket worker at a New Jersey Shop Rite store in Skillman was fired last week for posting threatening and racist messages on a social media web site—some of the comments were directed at a former employee and co-worker at the store—who is African American.
According to reports, the clerk, a 54-year-old white male employee posted several racially charged and bigoted messages on Facebook–including disparaging and vitriolic  comments about George Floyd. Floyd was the African-American man that was murdered by Minneapolis police officers in May. His videotaped death sparked dozens of protests nationwide—including New Jersey–demanding justice and protection from on-going harassment and violence against people of color by law enforcement. Posts by the employee threatened violence and driving his pick up truck through a crowd of  protesters. The sinister and chilling message read, “Can’t they protest in NJ like they do in California..I wanna see how many my truck can climb over before I get hung up.” A subsequent comment included a suggestion that he “use his brother’s pick up truck because it was bigger’ {and could hit more people}.”
According to various legal scholars, purported threats of violence made online can be considered a cybercrime and investigated by law enforcement officials–especially when the threat is specific, direct and credible. For example, on Wednesday a man drove his car into a crowd of protesters in Portland, OR, injuring three people. Earlier this week, a woman slammed her car through a crowd of protesters in California and injured several people. And in 2017, white supremacist, James Alex Fields, plowed his car through a group of protesters in Charlottesville, Va. Several people were injured and one woman died. Fields was eventually convicted of murder.
“I was disgusted and pissed off when I read the posts,” said Darion Blackwell of Princeton. “He crossed the line with those hateful attacks and threatening to drive his truck into a crowd of people. It’s sick!” Blackwell is a former employee of Shop Rite and had worked with the employee for more than a year. The two remained casual
acquaintances, however, they often sparred contentiously about politics, social and racial issues on social media and in public forums.
Blackwell eventually forwarded the inflammatory comments to the store. He also threatened to form a protest march against racism at the Shop Rite location. Shortly after forwarding the messages, Blackwell said he received a reply from a manager at the store indicating the information would be forwarded to upper management for an immediate review. The employee in question was reportedly fired a few days later.  
An on duty manager at the Shop Rite store declined to comment on the matter Thursday afternoon and referred all inquiries to the corporate headquarters of Saker Shop Rite in Freehold. A woman who answered the phone in the human resources office, refused to give her name and would not verify any information. A subsequent call and message to Kevin Moroney, senior vice president of human resources was not immediately returned. 
Wakefern Food Corporation owns and operates more than 350 supermarkets across the 
region, including Shop Rite stores. The retail chain is among the largest employers in New Jersey. It has been hit with a number of complaints by current and former employees—including discrimination. For example, a court ordered Shaker Shop Rite to pay more than $700,000 to an ex-employee for wrongful termination and discrimination in 2013.
Lastly, Anthony Sanfilippo, the store manager at McCaffrey’s Market in Princeton said employers must remain vigilant and steadfast against racism and discrimination
in the workplace and the community—especially during these racially and socially tense times. “There should be zero tolerance when it comes to dealing with blatantly racist and discriminatory behavior–especially in the workplace,” he said. “That behavior will not be tolerated and anyone that participates in it will be dealt with swiftly and accordingly.”

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