State Sen. Tony Bucco (R-Boonton) and Assemblywoman Aura Dunn (R-Mendham) urged that executive order violation charges against a business owner in their district be dropped after Gov. Phil Murphy appeared at Black Lives Matter protests over the weekend.
“While we understand and support the need for peaceful protests, it astounds us that the Governor continues to pick and choose which parts of his Executive Orders he enforces,” Bucco said. “While he marched shoulder-to-shoulder with hundreds of people yesterday across New Jersey, a business owner in our district who protested the Governor’s reopening policies last week received summonses from the State of New Jersey with fines up to $2,000 and the potential for one-year imprisonment for violating the Governor’s Executive Order.”
On Sunday, Murphy appeared at protests in Hillside and Westfield. The protests were not listen on his public schedule.
The appearances have brought on sizable backlash from new Jersey Republicans, who have claimed Murphy applied a different set of standards to Black Lives Matter protestors than he did to others in the state.
“Clearly, while businesses are penalized with crushing fines and threats of imprisonment for holding a commonsense rally against the Governor’s policies, he ignores his own standards when it’s in his political interest to do so,” Dunn said. “That is fundamentally unfair and likely unconstitutional.”
In the past months, authorities have cited organizers of anti-lockdown protests, but no such charges have been leveled against organizers of protests against police brutality that have appeared across the nation following the killing of George Floyd.
Floyd, who is black, died after then-Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin pinned Floyd’s neck under his knee for nearly nine minutes.
The two Republicans, who are the only state lawmakers up for election this year, said they were on the side of Black Lives Matter protesters.
“The killing of George Floyd was unjustified and inexcusable. I share the pain, sadness, and anger felt by so many here in Morris County and across the country. I side with those who peacefully protest to bring about positive change in our society,” Bucco said before disavowing riots and looting that have emerged from a small number of the protests.
Their support for the protesters, however, also extends to the anti-lockdown crowd, and the two Republicans urged the disparate groups be treated equally.
“When an elected official, such as our Governor, exhibits the ‘Do as I say, not as I do,’ edict as he did this weekend, we should all be outraged,” Dunn said.