New Jersey's attorney general has ordered the State Police to stop photographing protesters at Gov. Chris Christie's town hall meetings on the brink of Christie’s latest meeting with voters.
In a statement issued to The Star-Ledger of Newark, acting Attorney General John Hoffman said the State Police is responsible for the safety and security of the governor and public at town hall meetings. In doing so, Hoffman said troopers are careful to guarantee First Amendment rights are respected whether positive or negative toward the governor and his policies.
A spokesman for the governor said Christie was unaware that his critics were being photographed.
Wednesday's order came a day after a man who identified himself as a member of the State Police photographed protesters at a Christie event.
Christie is scheduled to hold another town hall meeting on Thursday, this time in Hunterdon County.
Christie is expected to talk about state finances on Thursday.
Christie's last two town halls were disrupted by hecklers affiliated with groups that have opposed him.
At least a dozen people were thrown out of a town hall in South River on Tuesday after shouting criticisms at Christie. They complained about how his administration is distributing federal recovery money and questioned Christie's role in a political payback scandal orchestrated by his aides.
A traffic-blocking plot and other possible wrongdoing are under criminal investigation, perhaps undermining Christie's potential as a 2016 Republican presidential candidate.
Christie's town halls have become less predictable since the scandal broke, but audiences remain mostly supportive.