NJ driver fired for plowing snow onto pedestrians — Is it a hate crime?
LAKEWOOD — The Waste Management employee who posted video of himself plowing snow onto two pedestrian has been fired.
The two men, who were dressed in traditional clothing worn by Orthodox Jewish men, were walking in the snow along County Line Road on Saturday when the off-duty plow driver came upon them and lowered the plow. After covering the men in snow, the driver is heard laughing on the now-deleted video clip.
The video was posted to the personal Facebook page of Donny Klarmann.
"This one's for you JC," Klarmann wrote on the now-deleted account.
Waste Management told a meeting of Jewish leaders from North Jersey and New York on Tuesday that Klarmann's behavior was "unacceptable and not in accordance with WM’s code of conduct, commitments and values. Although he was not on the job at the time he is no longer employed by the company."
"We are grateful for the communication and understanding shared at the meeting. We agree that acts of hate against any community cannot be tolerated and we are committed to the safety of the Jewish community," the company said in a statement.
Is the incident a hate crime?
Lakewood police Capt. Greg Staffordsmith said no charges have been filed and the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office is leading the investigation.
When asked if the case is considered a hate crime, prosecutor's office spokesman Bryan Huntenberg referred to the state law on bias and intimidation crimes.
A bias incident or hate crime is defined in the Attorney General’s guidelines as "any suspected or confirmed offense or unlawful act which occurs against a person or property (public or private) on the basis of New Jersey’s nine protected classes: race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and national origin."
Complaints are reviewed by a number of law enforcement agencies including local police, State Police, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness and/or the Attorney General’s Office.