Woman to teens in Hamilton park: ‘Die a long painful death’ from COVID-19
HAMILTON (Mercer) — A woman caught on video telling teens playing football she hopes they "die a long painful death" is a Hamilton school district employee, officials confirmed.
Gov. Phil Murphy issued an executive order on April 7 closing all state and county parks to discourage gathering in groups and slow the spear of COVID-19. The Mercer County township followed suit and closed all its own parks because of concern people would crowd those instead.
"It would put your safety, and the safety of our parks employees, in jeopardy and I cannot take that chance," Hamilton mayor Jeff Martin said in a statement.
A video being shared on several social media accounts opens with a woman wearing a grey sweatshirt walking a dog on the sidewalk in front of a park yelling at teens, asking if she is speaking loud enough for them to hear her.
"Park's closed. You'll get arrested if the cops come," the woman loudly said to the teens. When a male voice asks if they can move to a different spot she says "the whole area" is off limits.
"Get it through your thick head. You are the reason we are in this situation. You are the problem, not the solution," the woman says as the teens record their encounter.
"Go ahead. Keep recording. Who are you going to show it to? Post it on social media. You're the idiot doing the wrong thing. I'm just trying to save your a**es, save your life. But die, okay? I hope both of you get coronavirus. I hope you both die a long painful death," the woman says as the video ends.
Hamilton school superintendent Scott Rocco told New Jersey 101.5 in an email the person in the video is "an employee of the district" but would not disclose her identity.
"The video and what was said is currently being investigated. That being said, at no time should anyone wish a person ill, pain, and/or death. Such a statement is highly inappropriate when said among adults and abhorrent when said to children," Rocco said.
The Trentonian reported the video was shared on TikTok by an Steinert High School freshman playing football on Thursday in back of a former school on Franklin Street. During one of the shares, the caption "Y’all Mrs Griggs is losing her damn mind, how tf is she a teacher" was added, according to the Trentonian.
The student, a freshman, told the Trentonian the woman was Steinert High School math teacher Nicole Griggs and was recognized by several students who viewed the video. The Trentonian also said several other sources confirmed her identity.
The freshman told the Trentonian police showed up after she notified them, and ordered them to go elsewhere.
According to the Hamilton school district website, there is a 15-year veteran math teacher named Nicole Griggs who is described on the site as being born and raised in Hamilton. No picture is included.
An email sent by New Jersey 101.5 to Griggs' district email on Monday morning has not yet been returned.
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