LAKEWOOD – Police are charging people with disorderly persons offenses for having gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic, violating the state emergency order and putting people at risk.
Two incidents happened in Lakewood and one in Penns Grove, according to a statement by Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal.
“Our first responders should not be expending their limited personal protective equipment and putting themselves at risk by breaking up large gatherings…” said Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal. “That’s why we’ve charged these three individuals and will charge anyone else who threatens public health by holding large gatherings during this emergency. Our message is clear: stay home!”
The first incident in Lakewood was a wedding on March 25. Police responded to a large group of people gathered at a tent outside a home. Police attempted to disperse the wedding, however, the homeowner continued. Lakewood Police issued a summons to the homeowner, Meir T. Gruskin, 37, charging him with a disorderly persons offense for violating the emergency order. After the summons was issued, the wedding ended and the crowd dispersed.
The second incident in Lakewood was later that evening, when police discovered a gathering of about 25 teenage and adult males at a school. At the conclusion of the gathering, officers issued a summons to the school’s headmaster, Abraham Bursztyn, 48.
In Penns Grove, police responded to a noise complaint on Lanning Avenue on the night of March 21. There were 30 people at a house party. Penns Grove Police Department broke up the party and charged the man who was hosting the party, Jacquon Jones, 37, with a disorderly persons offense. Party guests were making videos of the party to post on YouTube.
These charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The point of banning gatherings is to slow the spread of the coronavirus before hospitals get overwhelmed.