Editor’s Note: This story was updated at 1:11 p.m.
The State Police physically removed one of George Norcross’ fiercest critics from a State Senate hearing room this morning.
Sue Altman, the executive director of New Jersey Working Families, was removed during a series of small demonstrations during a Senate hearing on New Jersey’s tax incentive programs.
State Sen. Bob Smith, chair of the Senate Select Committee on Economic Growth Strategies, called for state police to remove protesters in the “back row” after some booed after the first panel of witnesses finished giving their testimony.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Smith was referring to the back row of protesters arranged on one side of the room or to protesters lining the back of the room.
Altman was in neither.
“Troopers have been instructed to remove a group of people from the Senate Select Hearing. This is getting ugly. They are grabbing Sue Altman and dragging her out,” tweeted Darryl Isherwood, a spokesman for Gov. Phil Murphy, who was in the room for the hearing.
Isherwood said he wasn’t sure who the group of demonstrators.
“They had been cheering and clapping so They were escorted out. Then troopers found Sue Altman and a confrontation erupted,” Isherwood said. “Crazy day.”
Altman issued a statement alleging that she was targeted by the State Police.
“Today, George Norcross and his political allies resorted to thuggery and violence to silence the voices of Camden residents and advocates seeking to make their voices heard on the ongoing incentives scandal,” Altman said. “While Norcross allies were cheering, a group of advocates booed on response to public testimony from a Norcross ally. I was then specifically targeted for removal from the hearing room. State troopers grabbed me by the arm, and when I fell they dragged me from the committee room. They then issued me a citation for disorderly conduct.”
There is no evidence that Norcross played any role in specifically targeting Altman.
“Violence against political opponents is the last refuge of despots who have lost the debate over ideas. What happened to me today unmasks the dirty underbelly of a machine that will subvert democracy in its ruthless goal to accumulate and maintain power,” said Altman. “Norcross and his allies expected a perfectly choreographed appearance by Norcross today. Camden residents refused to be silent, and because of that we were targeted with an act of political violence and thuggery.”