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:
Assaults and Threats Against Police Officers, EMTs, or Others:
- Wadim Sakiewicz, 73, of Sparta, was charged on April 17, by the Sparta Police Department with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency, fourth-degree aggravated assault on an officer, fourth-degree resisting arrest, disorderly persons obstruction, disorderly persons criminal mischief, and violating the emergency orders. On April 15, Sakiewicz entered Stop & Shop in Sparta without wearing a face mask. When an employee asked him to leave, he became combative, and when a second employee escorted him out of the store, he allegedly said he had the coronavirus and began to cough on the employee. The store alerted police, who identified and located Sakiewicz on April 17. Sakiewicz allegedly physically resisted arrest and tried to spit on and bite officers.
- Amy Bosco, 47, of Point Pleasant Beach, was arrested on April 16 by the Point Pleasant Beach Police and charged with third-degree terroristic threats during an emergency, disorderly conduct, and violating the emergency orders. Bosco entered the police station, yelling, “Pigs! Oink, oink!” She was irate and aggressive, screaming obscenities and refusing to leave. She claimed she had a fever, a cough, and was sick. She was arrested and taken to the hospital, but remained aggressive, shouting profanities and removing her mask to blow on EMTs in the ambulance.
- Jose Lopez, 27, Irvington, was arrested on April 17, by the Irvington Police and charged with fourth-degree throwing bodily fluid at a police officer, disorderly persons endangering, and violating the emergency orders. When officers asked a group to disperse, Lopez refused, gesturing with his middle finger and shouting obscenities. He lunged at one officer, but was stopped by other officers. When they released him, he allegedly spat at the officer, yelling “Corona [expletive]!” The defendant got into a fighting stance, but officers subdued and arrested him.
Other Criminal Charges Involving Indictable Offenses:
- Katie Orszulski, 29, of Parlin, was arrested by the Hazlet Police on Wednesday night, April 15, and charged with second-degree burglary, disorderly persons simple assault, disorderly persons criminal mischief, and violating the emergency orders. Police responded to a report of a women being attacked by another woman outside her home. Investigation revealed that Orszulski got into a dispute with the victim over a man both were dating. Orszulski allegedly went to the victim’s home, dragged her outside, and began beating her in the street.
- Franklin Moore, 62, of Cape May Court House, was charged yesterday by the New Jersey State Police in Port Norris with third-degree possession of heroin, DWI, motor vehicle violations, and violating the emergency orders. Moore was involved in a motor vehicle accident and was unresponsive when police arrived, with heroin in the vehicle. He was treated and charged.
Other Violations of Executive Orders, Including “Stay at Home” Order:
- Tivon Davies, 20, of Morristown, was charged on April 17, by the Morristown Police with violating the emergency orders. It was determined that he was part of a disorderly group that gathered on the night of April 16 outside an apartment on Clyde Potts Drive. Three other men were charged earlier with violating the emergency orders in connection with that incident.
- Newark Enforcement, the Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 88 summonses for violations of the emergency orders and ordered four non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions yesterday, April 17.
- Geoffrey T. Vonderlinden, 51, of Basking Ridge, was charged on April 17 with violating the emergency orders after he was rescued while kite surfing off Normandy Beach in Toms River. Police and rescue crews responded to a report of a kite surfer in distress approximately 50 yards off shore and drifting northbound in the water, with strong winds and current. Fire department rescue crews and another surfer reached Vonderlinden and all returned to shore safely.
- Isaiah M. George, 33, of Jersey City, Jabril Corley, 28, of Jersey City, and Megan Stoddart, 29, of Howell, were charged on April 17 by the Jersey City Police with violating the emergency orders. In addition, Corley and another man, Marc Y. Bruny, 33, of Jersey City, were charged with disorderly conduct. The defendants were charged in connection with a party involving approximately 15 people inside an Airbnb rental in Jersey City.
- Mauricio Mejia, 19, of Clifton, Irbin Martinez, of Passaic, 24, Everardo Almonte, 23, of Passaic, and Sergio Bernal, of Passaic, were charged on April 17, by the Passaic Police with violating the emergency orders for gathering in an apartment building on Monroe Street and not practicing social distancing. They do not reside in the apartment building and had no legitimate purpose for being there.
- Elizabeth Police charged eight individuals at various times yesterday, April 17, with violating the emergency orders for loitering at the corner of Jackson Avenue and Bond Street or the corner of 3rd Street and Magnolia Avenue after police warned them about violating the Executive Order. Police charged Edwin Alerte, 30, Pearl Moore, 54, Larhonda Burgess, 57, Kevin Lewis, 65, Tyshawn Jones, 44, Thyshon Orr, 36, Arthur Johnson, 64, and Eguane Robinson, all of Elizabeth except for Robinson, who lives in Paterson. Moore, Burgess, and Lewis had all received summonses for violating the orders the previous day as well.
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.
Grewal announced on April 1 enhanced charges against six individuals who were charged with assaulting law enforcement officers and violating the emergency orders. Specifically, those enhanced charges included making terroristic threats during a state of emergency, which is a second degree offense and carries a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Defendant Wadim Sakiewicz is similarly charged for his alleged conduct.
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.
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.