Murphy Sends NJ Troopers to D.C., Readies National Guard
TRENTON — Gov. Phil Murphy has deployed the New Jersey State Police at the request of officials in Washington, D.C., after protesters stormed the nation's Capitol and caused destruction.
New Jersey State Police said 50 troopers were being sent to assist law enforcement there.
Murphy also said he stood ready to activate the National Guard upon request "to facilitate the peaceful transition of power & protect our democracy."
Murphy last activated the Guard in June, sending them to the capital to help guard national monuments during protests over the death of George Floyd.
The Washington, D.C., police chief says at least five weapons have been recovered and at least 13 people have been arrested so far in pro-Trump protests.
The mostly maskless crowd stormed the Capitol earlier Wednesday as lawmakers were meeting to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s win. One person was shot; their condition is unknown.
Police Chief Robert Contee called the attack a riot while several congressmen from New Jersey likened the action to a "coup" attempt.
As darkness began to set in, law enforcement officials were working their way toward the protesters, using percussion grenades to try to clear the area around the Capitol. Big clouds of tear gas were visible.
Police were in full riot gear. They moved down the West steps, clashing with demonstrators.
Mayor Muriel Bowser earlier declared a 6 p.m. curfew.
President Donald Trump, in a video message, is urging supporters to “go home” but is also keeping up false attacks about the presidential election.
The video was issued more than two hours after protesters began storming the Capitol on Wednesday as lawmakers convened for an extraordinary joint session to confirm the Electoral College results and President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Trump opened his video, saying, “I know your pain. I know your hurt. But you have to go home now.”
He also went on to call the supporters “very special.” He also said, “we can’t play into the hands of these people. We have to have peace. So go home. We love you. You’re very special.”
Republican lawmakers and previous administration officials had begged Trump to give a statement to his supporters to quell the violence.
Officials from New Jersey, both Democrats and Republicans, condemned Wednesday's violence. Former Gov. Chris Christie also blamed Trump.
State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal was among those who used the strongest term to describe what was happening.
“The peaceful transfer of power is a cornerstone of our democracy. We should call this effort to overturn the will of the voters through violence, intimidation, and lies what it is: an attempted coup. This mob and its enablers must stop and must be held accountable under the law," Grewal said in a written statement.
U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., noted that the Capitol had not been attacked since the British invasion of in 1814.
"Now the Capitol has again been breached and sieged. Donald Trump incited this. He is responsible for this. And he is silent as this tragic moment continues," Booker said.
“And Donald Trump is being aided and abetted by a group of Republican House and Senate members. This is on them, as well. We must rise from this nadir of shame. We must repair our democracy. We must heal our nation.”
New Jersey's congressional delegation except for U.S. Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. 4th District, who had not yet released a statement, reported being safe.
New York magazine's Olivia Nuzzi reported on Twitter that an apparent threat had been made against U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J. 12th District.
“Daryl Brooks, one of Rudy Giuliani’s witnesses at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping press conference, posted on Facebook claiming to be rioting inside of the Capitol building today. He then deleted it and claimed he’d been hacked," Nuzzi reported.
“I am told that Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman’s office responded to Brooks’s post — which contained the threat that he was looking for her office — by calling the police.”
A spokesman for the congresswoman referred us to the Capitol Police for comment.
(Includes material Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)