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AG Grewal and Colonel Callahan issue COVID-19 enforcement update

NEW JERSEY – Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, announced the following recent enforcement actions related to COVID-19, including those individuals allegedly involved in violating Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 107:

Cases Involving Additional Offenses:

  • Megan Murray, 28, of Monroe Township, was charged on Tuesday, April 14, by the South Brunswick Police Department with two counts of second-degree endangering the welfare of a child, DWI, numerous motor vehicle violations, and violating the emergency orders. Shortly after midnight, a vehicle operated by Murray was found stopped in a lane of travel on Georges Road. Murray was found intoxicated and sleeping in the vehicle with two young children inside.
  • Alexander C. Bross, 30, of Ocean View, was charged early Friday morning by the Upper Township Police Department with DWI and violating the emergency orders.

Other Violations of Executive Orders, Including “Stay at Home” Order:

  • Antoni Moore, 31, Gary Smith, 19, and Onir Ritzie, 26, all of Morristown, were charged on April 16, by the Morristown Police with violating the emergency orders. Officers responded at 10:00 p.m. to a report of a fight outside an apartment on Clyde Potts Drive. About 12 people were gathered outside, but most of them dispersed when police arrived. The apartment door was open and the three defendants, who do not reside in the apartment, were inside.
  • Newark Enforcement, the Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 90 summonses for violations of the emergency orders and ordered seven non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions on April 16.
  • Kim Pagan of Toms River was charged by the New Jersey State Police with violating the emergency orders by organizing a prohibited event today in Trenton in which protesters gathered outside the State House and at other locations in Trenton to demonstrate against the Governor’s Executive Orders.
  • Jeffrey Hernandez, 32, of Paterson, was charged on Wednesday, April 15, by the Paterson Police Department with violating the emergency orders at the carwash he owns on East 27th Street, BWT Shine 4 Less, where officers found employees washing cars by hand.
  • Paterson Police charged seven individuals at various times yesterday with violating the emergency orders for continuing to loiter at the corner of Jackson Avenue and Bond Street after police warned each of them about violating the Executive Order. Police charged Larhonda Burgess, 57, Kevin Lewis, 65, Pearl Moore, 54, James Williams, 55, Syrenner Frazier, 51, Carolyn Dixon, 58, and Herman Kuc, 53. Burgess received three summonses, and Moore received two summonses. The other individuals each received one summons.

The people who were charged strictly with violating the emergency orders and who do not face more serious charges were charged by summons— they were not arrested. Those cases will be adjudicated in municipal court.

“Our police officers are working bravely and tirelessly every day to protect us during this health crisis. Regrettably, they are being called upon far too often to deal with people violating the emergency orders— or what is more egregious, people using the virus to spread fear or impede officers in their vital work,” Grewal said. “Staying home and maintaining social distance isn’t just the best advice to stay healthy, it’s the law. Make no mistake, we will do everything in our power to keep our residents and officers safe, and that means we won’t hesitate to file charges against violators.”

“Law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of this battle to protect the citizens of New Jersey from the COVID-19 virus, and we cannot stress enough how important it is that each person follow the guidelines set forth in the Executive Order,” Callahan said. “Because lives are at stake, enforcement action will be taken without hesitation against those who are blatantly placing the lives of others at risk.”

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. Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000.

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: covid19.nj.gov/violation.To report bias crimes call 1-800-277-BIAS.

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.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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