New Jersey State Police Ordered to Stop Photographing Christie Protesters

"The only reason for photographing people is either to chill their speech in the future or otherwise seek to persuade them to stay away."

New Jersey's attorney general has ordered the State Police to stop photographing protesters at Gov. Chris Christie's town hall meetings.

In a statement, acting Attorney General John 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.

A spokesman for the governor said Christie was unaware that his critics were being photographed.

Floyd Abrams, an expert in First Amendment law, told the Star-Ledger he coudn't come up with an acceptable reason for State Police to take pictures of people critical of the governor.

"This is not a situation where there appear to be concerns that terrorists or individuals are engaging in criminal conduct," said Abrams, a partner at Cahill Gordon and Reindel in New York. "If that’s so, the only reason for photographing people is either to chill their speech in the future or otherwise seek to persuade them to stay away. These are not reasons consistent with the First Amendment."

Wednesday's order came a day after a man who identified himself as a member of the State Police photographed protesters at one of Christie's highly orchestrated town hall meetings, held in front of friendly crowds in GOP strongholds throughout the state.

Christie is scheduled to hold another town hall meeting on Thursday.

Go to NJ State Page
Category: 
origin Blog: 
origin Author: 
Comments Count: 
0
Showing 0 comments