GALLOWAY – Judge turns to community mediation to try to resolve case of a Monmouth County College deputy headmaster who threw beer at people filming his wife’s rant against female use transgender public restroom for women.
Galloway Township Municipal Court Judge Howard Freed on Thursday referred the case of Michael Smurro and three people who accuse him of throwing beer at them last month at community mediation as a first step in trying to solve the case.
If this process fails, the case could be sent back to court. No date has been set for mediation.
Smurro is Deputy Principal of Neptune Middle School. Video filmed by patrons at an outdoor restaurant on April 24 in the Smithville section of township shows him throwing a mug of beer at a people’s table when he and his wife realized they were being taped.
In an email to The Associated Press days after the incident, Smurro apologized for his actions and said he should have simply walked away from the situation.
Smurro filed harassment complaints against Debra and Robert Harris, and Elaine Nelson, who filed complaints against him, also alleging harassment.
Neither party to the case spoke during Thursday’s online hearing.
Footage from the open-air restaurant shows Lisa Smurro complaining at length about a person she said was a transgender woman using the women’s restroom.
New Jersey law prohibits discrimination based on gender identity and allows people to use public toilets that match their gender identity.
The footage shows that when the couple realized that someone was filming, they stood up and walked. Lisa Smurro continued to complain and a woman at the table replied, “Please take your hatred elsewhere.”
Michael Smurro then threw the contents of a beer mug at the occupants of the table.
“There you go, mate,” he said on the video. “Here.”
Michael Smurro then takes several steps back and, gesturing to himself, says, “Now you can go out.” I’m right here, ”before the couple walked away.
The Neptune School District said it had taken “quick and serious” action in the matter, but said it couldn’t reveal what it was for legal reasons.
(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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