New Jersey Police Chief Says He Won't Break up Thanksgiving Gatherings at Homes

New Jersey Police Chief Says He Won't Break up Thanksgiving Gatherings at Homes
Friends and families pray before Thanksgiving dinner in Stamford, Conn., on Nov. 24, 2016. (John Moore/Getty Images)
Bill Pan

A New Jersey police chief said his department is not going to enforce Gov. Phil Murphy's restrictions on Thanksgiving gatherings in people's homes, which he called "draconian."

Andrew Kudrick, the police chief for Howell Township, said Sunday on "Fox & Friends Weekend" that he doesn't want to add to the pain of his community by ruining their holiday in already hard times.

"As a police chief in charge of 100-plus police officers, I felt it was just incumbent upon me just to let them know, and let my community know, that we’re not going to enforce some of these executive orders which I feel are basically draconian," Kudrick said.

Last week, Kudrick issued a memo instructing his officers to ignore an executive order from Murphy, which tightened indoor gathering limits across the state from 25 to 10 people, and outdoor gatherings from 500 to 150.

Specifically, Howell police are told not to respond to any complaint about mask wearing, social distancing, or regular family gathering, except "egregious violations" such as a packed house party.

"Our community is hurting," Kubrick wrote. "We have seen an increase in mental health issues. People are depressed and stressed. Businesses are trying to survive. Some have already closed. The holidays and social gatherings bring family and friends together."

"We the police will not be used to carry out orders I feel are detrimental to our relationship with out community," he continued. "Or, will put officers in a no-win predicament such as being called for a social distancing or mask complaint. Although justified in our enforcement, the perception will be opposite and majority support will be lacking."

Murphy responded to Kudrick's statements on Friday, stressing that it is the obligation of all members of law enforcement to enforce his executive orders, particularly those involving public health issues.

"This is not about some minor infraction," the Democratic governor said at a press conference. "These Executive Orders are about saving people's lives and folks need to be reminded of that."

Murphy is one of the state and city officials who issued new public health measures in an effort to curb the spread of CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus during the Thanksgiving season. In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has advised residents to stay home and to revise their Thanksgiving plans that usually involve gathering with those outside of their household. In New York, the number of people that can attend a gathering in a private home is limited to 10 under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's new order. Cuomo's statewide order also includes a 10 p.m. curfew for all bars, restaurants, and gyms.