Seth Grossman's Statement to the Press at 10:00 P.M. on January 23, 2008:
The only truth contained in the statement issued by the Middle Township police and school authorities is that local officials were taking orders from Corzine’s state police.
First, neither I nor several dozen members of Liberty and Prosperity came to the school for a protest. We came at the invitation of the Governor to show him our plans to solve the state’s budget problems, and to give copies of our plans to each of the 400 citizens who attended the event.
The signs that we brought with us urged the governor to repudiate the $27 billion of state junk bonds that were issued by state authorities without the vote of the people as required by our state constitution. The New Jersey Supreme Court repeatedly held that the state has no legal obligation to repay these bonds.
Mr. Lonegan and I were arrested on the sidewalk in front of the school. I was sitting down on that sidewalk at the time I was arrested. I did not come anywhere near the doors of the school before my arrest, and therefore never saw signs posted on those doors. I did not say I wanted to show the sign to the governor, until after I was told I would be arrested for displaying the sign on the sidewalk in front of the school. There was no designated protest zone on the school grounds.
I am very grateful to all of the private citizens who videotaped the event. There is no doubt in my mind the charges against me are being dropped because of the many citizen videotapes that made it absolutely clear that I did not violate any laws at any time.
I am angry that it took four days for the authorities to publicly admit that they had no reason to arrest me. I understand how the driver of that red pickup truck felt, for four days after the governor’s accident last year.
Excerpts of Press Release Issued
at 5:30 PM on January 23, 2008
By Middle Township Police Chief Joseph Evangelista and School Superintendent Mike Kopakowski:
On January 19, 2008, the Governor of the State of New Jersey appeared at a "Town Hall" meeting at the Middle Township Board of Education Performing Arts Center in Cape May Court House, New Jersey. Prior to the Governor's appearance, Board of Education and Township Officials received instructions from the State Police that at no time should any person be allowed to enter the Town Hall meeting with signs, backpacks or packages and that a designated protest zone should be established. Pursuant to those directions on the day of the Governor's appearance, State personnel posted signs regarding prohibited items in the Town Hall meeting and designated a protest zone.
Mr. Steve Lonegan and Mr. Seth Grossman were in attendance outside the Governor's Town Hall meeting. When asked by local school officials to limit their protest to the designated protest area, Mr. Lonegan and Mr. Grossman refused, and rather insisted upon taking their protest to the doors of the school building. At this time, Mr. Grossman was arrested because he stated his intention that he would take the sign he was carrying inside the school building where the Governor was to appear, and Mr. Lonegan was arrested because he refused to limit his protest to the designated protest zone, contrary to the directives given by the State Police.
Local school and municipal officials, upon consultation with counsel, have determined that Mr. Lonegan and Mr. Grossman were engaging in constitutionally protected action. Both local school and municipal officials will urge that the municipal prosecutor administratively dismiss these charges and not require Mr. Lonegan or Mr. Grossman to appear in any court.
The School Board and Township have informed Mr. Lonegan and Mr. Grossman about the request that the charges be dismissed and offer their sincere apologies for any distress or humiliation the arrests have caused them.