The following is an official statement from Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante in response to inquiries by MSV on the Mayor Ravi Bhalla political rally on behalf of Bob Menendez.
“Last night I received an inquiry regarding an individual (identified to me by you as Chris Carbine) who allegedly stated he was removed from the public area during the Menendez rally and placed into a pen. I just met with Acting Captain Michael DeTrizio who was in command of the event. He advised me that Police Sergeant Will Montanez, who was there in his OEM Coordinator capacity, and not in police uniform, received a complaint regarding a male acting belligerent sitting amongst the Menendez supporters in an area that was rented from the City of Hoboken for a two-hour event. Montanez then went over to the male, who he stated did not appear to be acting belligerent but was holding a Hugin sign in the designated, rented area. Montanez advised the individual that he was in an area that was rented, and asked him if he would go over to an area where other Hugin supporters were. The dialogue between Montanez was very cordial. There was a Hoboken Police Lieutenant, ESU Commander Corrado Allegretta, within a few feet, but the individual was not in any trouble whatsoever. The male asked several times if he was under arrest to which Montanez replied that there was no reason for him to be under arrest as he did not do anything wrong. In fact, Montanez never even asked the individual for his name or identification as the individual was not being investigated, just being asked to cooperate so that they can ensure a safe event and allow for those who rented to have a safe event. Montanez further advised how the individual could go about renting the space for his own rally or reasons. Montanez even stated he offered the male coffee for being cooperative. The place the individual was asked to go was approximately 50 feet from the podium where the small group of Hugin supporters yelled during Menendez’s speech, and were allowed to exercise their constitutional right to do so. This was not a pen. This was outside the orange gates that laid out the boundary of the rented space, similar to what is done for other events like the Foam Party, and other private entities. The city has event applications and an event committee which approves events in all different parts of the city on public properties.
In the current political extreme that divide our country, whenever there are political events in our city that can bring controversy, dispute, or bring high profile dignitaries to our city, I will proactively ensure the Hoboken PD is there to keep the peace, and ensure all sides are treated fairly. We need to be there to prevent incidents of a political divide that have turned violent in other parts of the country. Another dynamic that was added to this event yesterday, was the appearance of Senator Cory Booker. Over the past few weeks, it has become apparent that Booker is considering a presidential campaign attempt. This brings the possibility of media attention, counter-protestors and a situation where there could be an incident of violence. I look at that and follow advisements and frequent communications that I get from NJSP, FBI-JTTF and Homeland Security. I just heard U.S. Homeland Security Director Kristjen Nielsen speak on Friday in NYC, about the challenges Law Enforcement face today in the current climate.
Hoboken Police Department