Court supervisor fired after seen on camera tearing down 'Black Lives Matter' signs in South Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- In a 34-second video clip, that's now gone viral, a man is seen tearing down "Black Lives Matter" signs hanging on the fence line of a South Philadelphia park at 12th and Reed streets.

Seconds later, a woman passing by in a car yells "Black Lives Matter," and he replies, "Not to me they don't."

"We were shocked," said Ray, who witnessed the exchange on Sunday afternoon.

Fearing retaliation, Ray did not want to give his last name.

The man Ray saw at 12th and Reed Sunday afternoon has been identified by the judicial district family court as former employee Michael Henkel.

"It's not even that 'all lives' rhetoric. It's someone literally saying that black lives do not matter to him," Ray said.

Henkel was terminated Monday following the video. He was hired on July 1, 1992.

His termination was apparently based on "multiple violations of the UJS Code of Conduct and the non-Discrimination and Equal Employment Policy."

Family court says it takes the incident very seriously and that Henkel's behavior was "egregious and totally unacceptable for an employee of the courts."

In the same spot, less than 12 hours after the first incident, witnesses say a resident was allegedly attacked. The victim was apparently hanging up an anti-racism poster.

"He ripped the plastic sign off and then whipped it at my face," said the victim in the video.

"You take one sign down, we're going to put 10 more up," said Timothy Kalosky, Jr.

On Monday night, residents were back putting up more anti-racism posters.

"No matter how many signs he tears down, we're going to be out here every day putting these signs back up," said Matthew McKelvey.
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