New Jersey Assemblyman Jay Webber accused the State’s Governor Phil Murphy of “brazenly defying” his own executive order that limits outdoor groups to 25 people amid COVID-19 and is asking the that the police hold him accountable for it, in a letter sent to the State’s Police Superintendent Col. Patrick J. Callahan on Monday.
“Photographic and written evidence on social media indicated that one Philip Dunton Murphy of Middletown openly and brazenly defied Executive Order 148by purposely, repeatedly, and wantonly associating with others in groups of greater than 25 individuals, and aiding and abetting such behavior,” Webber wrote.
“Consistent with the treatment of other individuals who have committed similar acts, that behavior appears to merit a criminal citation for violations pursuant to N.J.S.A. App.A 9-49(h) and 9-50.”
Today, in Hillside, we marched for justice.
For George Floyd and for the many before him – who lost their lives for being Black.
We march because we will not accept systemic racism and bias as just part of our national condition. Black Lives Matter. pic.twitter.com/JGe00Xa1qS
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) June 7, 2020
Governor Murphy attended two Black Lives Matter protests Sunday in response to the tragic death of George Floyd.
When asked during Monday’s news conference about the appearance of selective enforcement of the order, Murphy told reporters that the issue is in the hands of local law enforcement and implied that racism is more pressing than COVID-19.
“This is up to local law enforcement in any case. I believe it’s true. And if it’s not true, I stand corrected. In any other non anti-racism protest that I’m aware of that was related to COVID-19 that’s occurred. A. there have been few citations, but B. they’re directed only at the organizers. I walked away from Hillside, I walked away from Westfield. I’m gonna say a couple thousand in Hillside and probably more than that in Westfield,” Murphy explained.
There were 130 protests held over the weekend, he added.
Murphy continued, “This is a moment in time perhaps unlike any in our nation’s history. There is an overwhelming amount of anger and passion. And, by the way, it’s all incredibly peaceful, overwhelmingly so, particularly in New Jersey and we should be very proud of that. I can’t imagine what it would look like if we said to people ‘you have to stay in, you have to ignore systemic racism, I’m sorry, just ignore it, just stay inside, you can’t go out and voice your anger, your rightful anger. I can’t imagine what that looks like as it relates to public safety.”
“I think this is literally unique in our nation’s history. I do think this is an inflection point. I do believe this does feel differently this time. Please, God, it does.”
Col. Callahan echoed the Governor’s response, saying that it’s up to local law enforcement. Violating the EO could result in up to 6 months in prison time, a $1,000 fine, or both, Webber noted in his letter.
Letter to Col. Callahan: Will Governor be held accountable & cited for his violations of his own Executive Order? pic.twitter.com/ytaQ8kcjQi
— Jay Webber (@JayWebberNJ) June 8, 2020