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A New Jersey snowplow worker who allegedly doused two Orthodox Jewish pedestrians on their way to the synagogue with snow and ice is out of a job and may face charges.
The potentially very dangerous incident occurred on January 29th during a snowstorm.
The driver and passenger in the truck reportedly had both posted a brief video of the encounter to their now-deleted Facebook pages, but the Internet is forever.
“The video, which circulated on social media last week, was taken by the passenger in the snow plow as it approached two unsuspecting men wearing traditional Orthodox clothing in Lakewood in Ocean County,” the New York Post reported on Sunday.
“With his passenger recording, the driver maneuvers the plow to throw winter precipitation on the unsuspecting pedestrians. The two men in the snow plow then burst into laughter,” NJ.com explained.
On the audio, you can hear the duo laughing as they drove by the two congregants.
“This one’s for you JC,” the driver allegedly captioned the now scrubbed video on his Facebook page, according to various media stories. You can draw your own conclusions as to what JC supposedly stands for.
Lakewood Cops and Ocean County prosecutors are investigating, including as to whether this is a hate crime, and the two pedestrians reportedly do plan to press charges.
In an initial statement, employer Waste Management said that the “unacceptable hateful conduct” occurred when the alleged employee was off duty, and the company suspended him pending an internal investigation.
In an update shortly thereafter, Waste Management announced that “While the incident did not involve company equipment, the employee associated with this social media post is no longer employed with WM. The conduct of this former employee is unacceptable and not in accordance with WM’s code of conduct, commitments and values.”
UPDATE: While the incident did not involve company equipment, the employee associated with this social media post is no longer employed with WM. The conduct of this former employee is unacceptable and not in accordance with WM’s code of conduct, commitments and values.
— WM (@WasteManagement) February 2, 2022
“It’s unclear whether the man fired was the driver or the passenger,” the Post added.
The company has also reportedly met with Jewish community leaders in northern New Jersey and New York City. “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,” Waste Management noted in a statement.
The mayor of Lakewood, an area with one of the largest Orthodox Jewish communities in the country, said he “was appalled and shaken when I saw this video. Not only was it cruel but it was also incredibly stupid and dangerous. The plow could easily have thrown chunks of ice or rock and seriously injured or killed either of the victims. I am glad to know our police department is taking this as the serious incident it is,” PhillyVoice reported.
According to 2020 FBI statistics, nearly 60 percent of all religious bias crimes in the U.S. were reportedly committed against persons of Jewish heritage, who comprise just about two percent of the country’s adult population.
Watch a report on this incident from NBC New York:
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