Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today urged New Jersey residents to stay home and stay safe this holiday weekend, reminding them that law enforcement will be continuing to strictly enforce Governor Murphy’s emergency orders for social distancing.
“It will be hard this holiday weekend to miss loved ones and forego traditional family get-togethers, but it is absolutely critical that we all stay home and maintain social distance,” said Attorney General Grewal. “There are indications that these measures are indeed flattening the curve of this pandemic in the U.S., but if we let our guard down now by traveling for holiday gatherings, more lives will be put at risk. The vast majority of New Jerseyans are doing the right thing by following the emergency orders. As for the few violators, we will continue to hold them accountable with strong enforcement efforts this weekend. I urge you to support our courageous officers, who are on the frontlines of this battle, by not creating more work and risks for them during the holidays.”
“This holiday weekend is traditionally a time for many New Jersey residents to come together for religious services and family gatherings, but we are not currently living a traditional lifestyle,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “It is imperative that we continue to work together to practice social distancing and travel only when necessary. These preventative measures are proving to be effective, but we must stay the course to ensure the safety of everyone as we continue to move in the right direction towards flattening the curve.”
Attorney General Grewal and Colonel Callahan announced the following recent enforcement actions against violators of Governor Murphy’s Emergency Orders related to COVID-19:
- Newark Enforcement. The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 51 summonses for violations of the emergency orders in enforcement actions yesterday, April 9.
- Neil Shah, 27, of Edison, Bunnarith Sou, 38 of North Plainfield, Sedrick Dale Holland, 38, of Tunica, Miss., and James J. Ehrig, 25, of Rahway, were each charged with violating the emergency orders by opening Black Diamond Billiards on Route 22 West for business in Union Township yesterday evening, April 9. Shah is the owner and the other men are employees. Approximately 10 patrons were on the premises. They exited when police arrived.
- Frank Fredricks, 30, of Jackson, was charged by the Howell Police Department on April 6 with shoplifting (3rd degree), reckless endangerment (disorderly persons offense), and violation of the emergency orders. Police responded to the Lowe’s home improvement store in Howell, where Fredericks and two other individuals were being detained by Lowe’s employees for allegedly stealing more than $2,000 worth of power tools. During transport to police headquarters, Fredericks told the officers he had tested positive for the coronavirus. He had been to other Lowe’s stores with his codefendants earlier in the day.
- Jihad A. Hayes, 32, of Newark, was charged yesterday, April 9, by the Roselle Police with receiving stolen property (3rd degree), disorderly conduct for violating the emergency orders, and possession of marijuana (disorderly persons offense). Police were called to a supermarket after Hayes, while wearing a mask, allegedly told shoppers he had the coronavirus. There is no indication Hayes spit or coughed at anyone or threatened to do so. Hayes left the store before officers arrived, but he was stopped in a U-Haul truck that had been stolen out of Newark.
- Elliot Taylor, 25, of Newark, Regina Anderson, 23, of Newark, and Nygeama J. Lamar, 24, of East Orange, were charged last night by the Union Township Police Department with five counts of burglary (3rd degree), five counts of theft (disorderly persons offense), and violating the emergency orders. Defendants allegedly entered five different parked, unoccupied motor vehicles on Kenneth Avenue in Union Township and stole various items.
- Mario Reyes-Ramirez, 34, of Milltown, was charged with violating the emergency orders on April 1 by the Milltown Police Department after he allegedly was involved in a hit and run accident and charged with DWI. He had driven to a friend’s house, where he had been drinking.
- Timothy Grant, 38, of Pemberton Township, was charged last night with violation of the emergency orders after he was stopped outside last night, April 9, by the Pemberton Township Police Department. He had received a prior warning about violating the emergency orders.
- Aquan Reed, 29, of Trenton, was charged yesterday, April 9, by the Trenton Police with trespassing and violation of the emergency orders, both disorderly persons offenses. Reed had been warned about loitering on a property posted no trespassing and being outside without a legitimate purpose under the emergency orders. He was charged after returning to the location.
- Kai Anderson, 27, of Trenton, was charged on Wednesday evening, April 8, by the Trenton Police with violating the emergency orders. Police approached three males on Walnut Avenue at about 6:30 p.m. and advised them they should not be outside because of the emergency. Two of the males dispersed, but Anderson refused to leave, saying it was not curfew time.
- Eric Amanfo, 35, of Hamilton, was charged by the Trenton Police on Tuesday, April 7, with violating the emergency orders. He was with a group of persons loitering in the 200 block of Spring Street with open containers of alcoholic beverages. The group dispersed when advised about the emergency orders, with the exception of Amanfo, who refused to leave.
Violations of the emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, violators can potentially face criminal charges including second, third, and fourth degree indictable offenses.
Police have charged a number of persons with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency for claiming to have COVID-19 and threatening to infect law enforcement officers or others by coughing, spitting, or otherwise exposing them. That charge carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
If you are seeing a lack of compliance with the Governor’s emergency orders in your town, please contact your local police department or report here https://covid19.nj.gov/violation
The Attorney General’s Office and New Jersey State Police will continue to work with law enforcement throughout New Jersey to deter non-complaint behavior.
No one should take advantage of this pandemic to further their own biased agendas. COVID-19 is no excuse to promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and or other biased stereotypes. Please report bias crimes at 1-800-277-BIAS.