Middle Township officials blame state police, ask that charges against Lonegan be dropped

Saying that the State Police was to blame, Middle Township municipal and school officials say that conservative leader Steve Lonegan was “engaging in a constitutionally protected action” when he protested Gov. Jon Corzne’s town meeting, and said they would ask the municipal prosecutor to drop all charges against the former Bogota Mayor and possible ’09 candidate for Governor.

In a statement issued by Police Chief Joe Evangalista and Superintendent of Schools Mike Kopakowski, the municipality alleged that the State Police directed local officials to refuse admission to anyone with a sign, and to set up a protest zone – and said that “state personnel” posted signs in the area prior to the town hall meeting. They said that Lonegan was arrested because he refused to limit his protest to the designated area in accordance with state police instructions.