NEW JERSEY — Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday kept up his praise for New Jersey residents marching for George Floyd, but admitted he was concerned over a spike in COVID-19 cases as a result of the crowds.

“Yes, I’m concerned but it’s not a reason not to protest,” the governor said this afternoon at the George Washington Ballroom in Trenton at his daily press conference. 

“If you do participate, get tested,” he continued. “We have capacity, we spent the past three months building up capacity like any American state.” 

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Anti-police brutality demonstrations in the Garden State don’t show signs of slowing, with Col. Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, getting word of almost 30 set for Friday, 60 on Saturday, and 40 on Sunday  

Callahan also said no executive order violations were reported in the past 24 hours. 

In boasting over new unemployment numbers from May showing improvements, President Donald Trump said earlier in the day that he was hoping George Floyd was “looking down” from heaven “and saying, ‘This is a great thing happening for our country.’”

Murphy said during the briefing that he had “no insight” as it related to the comments.

“George Floyd should be alive, full stop no matter how you slice it,” the governor said, while invoking Ahumaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor as well. “We saw [Floyd] get killed in broad daylight. Shortly after I asked Pat [Callahan] is there a protocol that I missed all these years?... Putting a knee on somebody’s neck. Was that ever part of the playbook? And Pat said, it is not part of any playbook in law enforcement or policing.”

Murphy said protestors should wear face protection and try exercising social distancing as best they can.

The latest COVID-19 figures were announced: 864 new cases (163,336 total) and 79 additional deaths (12,049 total). More details are available on the state dashboard. 

The slowing of cases has allowed the state to continue in its reopening, with an announcement on the reopening of outdoor swimming pools expected Monday. 

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