TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey’s attorney general said he’s looking into who ordered a state trooper to photograph protesters at Gov. Chris Christie’s town hall meetings.
Acting Attorney General John Hoffman told The Associated Press he ordered the activity be stopped soon after he heard about it. He says he’s still investigating how it came to happen.
In a statement issued to The Star-Ledger of Newark, Hoffman said the State Police is responsible for the safety and security of the governor and public at town hall meetings. In doing so, Hoffman said troopers are careful to guarantee First Amendment rights are respected whether positive or negative toward the governor and his policies.
Wednesday’s order came a day after a man who identified himself as a member of the State Police photographed protesters at a Christie event. Hoffman confirmed the man was indeed a trooper.
A spokesman for the governor said Christie was unaware that his critics were being photographed.
Protesters disrupted two of Christie’s town hall meetings in the past week.
During an event in Mount Laurel last Thursday, police removed Rowan University student Michael Brein after he began shouting about supposed inequities in the distribution of Superstorm Sandy aid. Five others were shown the door after yelling about the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal and other matters.
On Tuesday in South River, at least a dozen protesters began shouting about how Christie’s administration has distributed Superstorm Sandy relief aid. They also asked why the governor hasn’t fired the head of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the wake of a political payback scandal. The protesters – some shouting “New Jersey deserves better” – were escorted out by police.
Christie is scheduled to hold another town hall meeting on Thursday.
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