Republicans slammed Gov. Phil Murphy for tweeting out a photo of himself at a crowded police brutality march that exceeds his own limit of 25 people in a public gathering.
“Only can happen in New Jersey. Governor Murphy violates his own executive order,” said Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick on Twitter.
Murphy dismissed his actions as a form of civil disobedience, but one legislator asked Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to cite Murphy for violating Executive Order 148.
“Photographic and written evidence on social media indicates that one Philip Dunton Murphy of Middletown openly and brazenly defied Executive Order 148 by purposely, repeatedly, and wantonly associating with others in groups of greater than 25 individuals, and aiding and abetting such behavior,” wrote Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-Morris Plains) in a letter to Grewal. “Consistent with the treatment of other individuals who have committed similar acts, that behavior appears to merit a criminal citation for violations.”
Murphy dismissed his critics.
“I can’t imagine what it would look like if we said to people actually 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,” Murphy said. “I can’t imagine what that looks like as it relates to public safety. And so, I would add that dimension to my answer, which is 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. And please God it does.”
Webber asked Grewal to consider his own statement: “I said we were done with warnings and would take strong law enforcement action against anyone who failed to heed the Governor’s COVID-19 related emergency orders. This crackdown will continue until everyone gets the message that they need to stop these violations.”
While it’s unlikely that Grewal will charge Murphy, it’s possible — if not likely — that the governor will face a private citizen’s complaint.
That could force one of Hillside’s two municipal court judges, Seth Dombreck or Marvin Braker, to determine in probable cause exists to issue Murphy a summons.