Wednesday, Mar 19, 2014
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) is concerned about news reports that the State Police is photographing critics of Gov. Chris Christie at town hall meetings.
PolitickerNJ reported a plainclothes individual snapping photos of protesters at a Christie town hall in South River on Tuesday. According to the website, the photographer identified himself as a member of the State Police.
The following statement is from Udi Ofer, executive director of the ACLU of New Jersey.
"It raises serious First Amendment concerns that the State Police may be photographing protesters at Gov. Christie’s town hall meetings,” said Udi Ofer, executive director of the ACLU of New Jersey. “The State Police must come clean and explain to New Jerseyans whether it has a practice or policy of photographing people engaged in First Amendment protected speech. New Jerseyans must be able to express their viewpoints without having to fear police officers photographing them and creating political dossiers on them."
Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg issued the following statement on Tuesday after learning of the undercover tactics employed by the State Police in photographing demonstrators at the Governor’s Town Hall meeting today:
"Having undercover State police officers taking photos of people who are exercising their right of free expression at the Governor's Town Hall meeting is a Nixonian tactic that has no place in New Jersey or anywhere else in this country. I can't imagine what rationalization the Governor would have for allowing this to happen but it comes across as an act of political intimidation.
"The only threat these protesters present is a legitimate criticism of the policies and the practices of the Christie Administration. The right of free expression is one of the most cherished liberties we have in America. It shouldn't be compromised or undermined in any way - especially by those responsible for upholding the law. The Governor should repudiate this tactic and make sure it isn't repeated."