Protesters angry over Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to send state troopers to help contain the violence in Baltimore dominated the governor’s first news conference in New Jersey in more than five months.
Christie, who is considering a presidential run, visited a New Brunswick drug treatment center on Wednesday to sign a pair of bills. But the event, held in the parking lot outside the facility, was often drowned out by a handful of protesters — gathered behind a locked gate and fence — who heckled and chanted for nearly half an hour as Christie signed the legislation and answered questions.
“Get the state troopers out of Baltimore!” they shouted as Christie spoke about the bills. “Send them to Camden and Newark!”
They later burst into chants of “Black lives matter,” which has become a rallying cry following the high-profile deaths of a handful of black men at the hands of police in recent months.
Christie announced Tuesday he had deployed 150 state police personnel after race riots erupted in Baltimore. He said it was payback for when surrounding states sent help to New Jersey in the aftermath of Sandy.
“When there’s an emergency in another area in our region and folks reach out for help, we’re going to reach out and give that help,” he said.