It is now apparently a crime for citizens in the state of New Jersey to peaceably assemble and petition the government for a redress of grievances.
New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and State Police Supt. Patrick J. Callahan announced that dozens of residents had either been arrested or issued citations for violating the mandatory “stay at home order.”
“Staying home and maintaining social distance isn’t just the best advice to stay healthy, it’s the law. Make no mistake, we will do everything in our power to keep our residents and officers safe, and that means we won’t hesitate to file charges against violators,” the attorney general warned.
Kim Pagan, of Toms River, was charged with organizing a “prohibited event” outside the State House in Trenton. Her crime was to organize a demonstration against the governor’s executive orders.
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A video posted to Facebook by Central Jersey Libertarians shows police writing summonses to honking and shouting protesters in parked cars. One woman can be heard to yell “we have the right to peacefully protest.”
The Newark Police Dept. issued 90 summonses for violating emergency orders. Seven law-abiding business owners were ordered to shut down.
Violations of the emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, the attorney general said violators can potentially face criminal charges including second, third, and fourth degree indictable offenses.
Jeffrey Hernandez, the owner of a car wash in Paterson, was charged with a crime after officers “found employees washing cars by hand.”
“Our police officers are working bravely and tirelessly every day to protect us during this health crisis. Regrettably, they are being called upon far too often to deal with people violating the emergency orders— or what is more egregious, people using the virus to spread fear or impede officers in their vital work,” the attorney general said.
Gov. Phil Murphy, Attorney General Grewal and their jackbooted state police enforcers are becoming more like the Chinese government every day.
We must resist these infringements on our freedoms, ladies and gentlemen. We must rise up in defiance and reclaim America. Live free or die!
If you think emergency orders are more like guidelines than actual rules, think again. Here’s the latest on our enforcement actions: https://t.co/9kNEDJ4TNC
I know social distancing isn’t exactly enjoyable, but now’s not the time for fun & games. Please stay home & stay safe.
— AG Gurbir Grewal (@NewJerseyOAG) April 17, 2020