News and Commentary

‘I’m Not Afraid Of Tyrants’: New Jersey Gym Owner Arrested After Disobeying Lockdown Order

"That's not public health and I won't subscribe to it."
Phil Murphy, Governor of New Jersey, listens during a Bloomberg Television interview in Newark, New Jersey, U.S., on Friday, March 8, 2019.
Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The owner of a gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey, who was arrested Monday after remaining open in defiance of the governor’s lockdown order, said he will not back down because he is “not afraid of tyrants.”

Atilis Gym owner Ian Smith, 33, and his co-owner Frank Trumbetti, 51, were charged Monday with contempt, obstruction, and violating the Disaster Control Act, after a state judge ruled that authorities could shut down a gym and lock its doors. They also face daily fines for each day they remain in contempt and must pay the state’s cost in its pursuit of the contempt-of-court motion, according to The Cherry Hill Courier-Post.

Their arrest is the latest event in their months-long standoff with Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, whose lingering lockdown order has shuttered non-essential businesses for more than four months.

Speaking with Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday, Smith remained defiant despite his arrest. “From the last time that we spoke, we had lost our newest case of contempt of court, and that was on Friday of last week,” Smith said, referencing when he told Carlson he planned to reopen his gym in May. “The governor said and requested in court to take ‘extraordinary measures’ to stop us from operating a business. And Judge Robert Lougy agreed with him.”

Smith went on to explain how he and his partner had removed the gym doors to prevent any attempt to padlock them and holed themselves up in their gym with two weeks’ worth of clothing and no intention of leaving. “We did agree that we would go peacefully if law enforcement came,” Smith said. “Frank and I at that point went peacefully, and when we arrived back after being booked, we had boarded-up doors.”

After pointing out that murderers are walking free in New Jersey despite the sheriff’s vigilance to board up Smith’s gym, Carlson asked him, “You went on this show, you knew that that was wagging a finger in the face of the tyrants who run your state. You did it anyway. Why?”

“Because I’m not afraid of tyrants,” Smith responded. “No American should be because we outnumber them greatly and the only thing that they run off of is fear, which is why you see what you see with the media, where they’re pumping fear into the coronavirus, when they should be pumping solutions. They don’t do that. They don’t ever offer any solutions. It’s ‘wear a mask, shut up, and wait for a vaccine.’ That’s not public health and I won’t subscribe to it.”

Smith concluded by pointing out that Murphy’s initial lockdown was slated for two weeks but has since drawn out for more than four months.

Smith and his partner are among a growing number of Americans nationwide who are responding to state lockdown orders with civil disobedience. Grace Community Church, a prominent evangelical church in Sun Valley, California, made headlines last weekend when its senior pastor, John F. MacArthur, penned a statement explaining why the state had overstepped its legitimate authority by forbidding houses of worship to gather indefinitely.

Related: WATCH: NJ Governor Confronted On Violating Bill Of Rights By Banning Religious Services, Gives Viral Response

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  ‘I’m Not Afraid Of Tyrants’: New Jersey Gym Owner Arrested After Disobeying Lockdown Order