The Murphy boys had bones to pick with Councilwoman Grace Cangemi last night.
Most notably, Councilman Art Murphy erupted at Cangemi for a statement she made about policing at the candidate’s forum earlier this month.
But his brother Sean also got into it during the public comment portion of the council meeting.
Art Murphy’s outburst occurred during a brief presentation Murphy gave on recently released crime data, which showed an increase from 2005 to 2006.
The increase was out of the ordinary, Murphy said, because 2005 was the lowest-crime-rate year the borough had seen in nine years. On a year-to-date basis, crime this year is down 14 percent, he said.
Moreover, he said, the police are making investigative progress into a recent outbreak of shootings that left some property damage but no deaths or injuries. He said he was not at liberty to disclose details, but “if I told you the story, you’d say, ‘Wow.'”
At that point, Murphy turned to Cangemi seated as usual immediately to his left and lambasted her for saying that borough should consider talking to the police union about instituting foot patrols on the West Side.
Cangemi should have taken her concerns about patrols and staffing to Police Chief Mark Fitzgerald instead of trying to leverage them into a campaign issue, Murphy said, his voice rising in anger.
“His door is always open,” he shouted. “You did that for what a vote?”
Cangemi said she had called Murphy himself in the aftermath of a complaint from a resident who’d found a bullet lodged in the outer wall of his house, but that Murphy hadn’t responded.
Murphy shouted that Cangemi was “a liar.
“Anything for a vote,” he said.
Cangemi said that at the candidate’s forum she’d “suggested more manpower. I don’t see where that’s a negative.”
Murphy apologized for his outburst but said he stood by his comments.
Later, Sean Murphy castigated Cangemi for campaign signs asking voters to “re-elect” her. The signs are misleading, he said, because Cangemi lost last year’s council race and was appointed to the governing body after Kaye Ernst resigned in January.
“I was elected by the council,” she said.
“The people of Red Bank take their votes seriously,” Murphy said. “You should remove that sign or fix it.”