The man who was behind the wheel of a plow as he appeared on video to intentionally blast two Orthodox Jewish men with snow and ice during Saturday's storm is out of a job, his employer said.
The two men in Lakewood claim the driver of the snow plow did it on purpose, and Lakewood Mayor Raymond Coles said that investigators are now considering whether the incident should looked into as a hate crime.
Waste Management said in a statement Tuesday evening that they have taken "swift action in response to the troubling and inappropriate event involving an off-duty employee." The company said that the incident did not involve their vehicle or equipment, and that the worker associated with the video posted to social media is no longer employed by them.
Coles confirmed to NBC New York that the incident, which was captured on video from a cellphone inside the truck, occurred during Saturday's snowstorm along County Line Road, near the border with Jackson Township. The video appears to show a truck driver purposely dropping his plow to spray snow and ice onto the Jewish men, as they were walking to or from religious services. The video then ends with a callous laugh.
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"The conduct of this former employee is unacceptable and not in accordance with WM's code of conduct, commitments and values," the company statement read. "We have offered our support to local authorities who have inquired about the incident. Earlier today, WM leaders also met with leaders from the Jewish Community in northern New Jersey and new York City...We agree that acts of hate against any community cannot be tolerated and we are committed to the safety of the Jewish Community."
Coles said that the victims were pressing charges.
While police and prosecutors consider whether hate crime charges are called for, they have not yet said whether the person who initially posted the video online was the man behind the wheel of the plow. The video made the rounds on social media, leaving those in town disgusted.
"I think it's very disgusting ... besides the fact that they're targeting Jews, it could've actually hurt somebody very badly and God forbid, killed them," said neighbor Harvey Rosenthal.
Lakewood Police and county prosecutors have not confirmed to NBC New York whether they have identified the driver, if charges are imminent, or if they have made any conclusions about possible hate crime charges.