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:
Assaults and Threats Against Police Officers, EMTs, or Others:
- Lettie Carstarphen, 29, an inmate at the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility for Women, was charged on April 7 with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency, fourth-degree aggravated assault on an officer, fourth-degree throwing bodily fluid at an officer, fourth-degree risking widespread injury, and fourth-degree endangering. While at the clinic inside the correctional facility, Carstarphen allegedly intentionally and forcefully coughed and tried to spit at correction officers, stating “I’m going to give you corona and I hope you die.”
- Immanuela Omini, 21, of Sickerville, was charged on April 20, by the New Jersey State Police with fourth-degree throwing bodily fluid at an officer, disorderly persons obstruction, and disorderly persons resisting arrest. A state trooper stopped Omini at about 5:30 p.m. for driving recklessly on Sicklerville Road and discovered that she had several outstanding warrants against her. When Omini refused to get out of her vehicle, the trooper, assisted by officers of the Monroe Township Police Department, had to physically remove Omini from the vehicle. Omini was placed under arrest on the warrants and for resisting arrest and obstruction. As she was being placed in a Monroe Township Police vehicle, Omini allegedly spit twice at the trooper, once in her face and once on the chest.
Other Criminal Charges Involving Indictable Offenses:
- Paul J. Smith, 44, of Lakehurst, was charged on April 20, with second-degree false public alarm and third-degree criminal mischief. Smith allegedly pulled a fire alarm yesterday at Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus in Lakewood. He also allegedly broke a television, a sink faucet, and an IV pump, causing more than $2,000 in damage. Hospital staff had to struggle to restrain him.
Other Violations of Executive Orders, Including “Stay at Home” Order, and Ordinances:
- Tyrell Wright, 26, of Washington Township, Warren County, was charged on April 17 with fourth-degree distribution of less than one ounce of marijuana and violating the emergency orders. Wright allegedly was seen conducting a hand to hand marijuana sale with another individual.
- Ryan Peterson, 24, of Budd Lake, was charged on April 14 by the Mount Olive Township Police Department with violating the emergency orders for playing on a soccer field.
- Felipe Familia-Lugo, 31, of Dover, was charged on April 20, by the Dover Police Department with violating the emergency orders for opening his barber shop to cut hair. Police also charged his brother Jesus Familia-Lugo, 27, of Dover, who was having his hair cut, and Manuel Pandolfo, 33, of Hackettstown, who was also present in the barber shop. Police investigated when they saw lights on inside the business shortly before 11 p.m. Monday.
- Newark Enforcement, the Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 37 summonses for violations of the emergency orders and ordered four non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions on Sunday and Monday, April 19 and 20.
- Yosef M. Notis, 43, of Lakewood, was charged on April 21 by the Lakewood Police Department for violating the emergency orders by giving children permission to open the gym at his school on Oak Street to play basketball. There were eight male youths in the gym.
- Roland Nunez, 49, Saunialt Adams, 29, Warnetta Johnson, 70, and Juan Gnegorie, were charged late Saturday night, April 18, with violating the emergency orders by hosting gatherings outside their apartments at the Mallard Park Apartments in Penns Grove. Borough police responded to a report of altercations among the groups. Officers dispersed the crowds.
- Jarod Rieth, 21, of Haskell, was charged with violating the emergency orders after the Stanhope Police Department stopped his vehicle on Route 206 on the night of April 16.
- William Hancock, 32, of East Orange, and Roberto St. Juste, 25, of West Orange, were charged on April 17 by the Hampton Police Department with disorderly persons shoplifting and violating the emergency orders. Police stopped Hancock and St. Juste for alleged shoplifting and found items stolen from Lowe’s in their vehicle.
- Shahiem Alston, 33, Shamir Williams, 26, and Jahmahli Carnegie, 19, all of Paterson, were charged on April 20, by the Paterson Police Department with violating the emergency orders for gathering in the area of 17th Avenue and East 28th Street without an essential purpose, refusing to disperse, and failing to practice social distancing.
- Miguel Gonzalez, 40, Victor Corota, 50, Alberto Torres, 49, and Jose Montez, 56, all of Paterson, were charged on April 20, by the Paterson Police Department with violating the emergency orders for gathering in the area of Market and Summer Streets without an essential purpose and refusing to disperse.
- Clavon Radcliff, 31, Andre Gordon, 32, Jermaine Brown, 32, and Jerome McGraw, 32, all of Paterson, were charged on April 20, by the Paterson Police Department with violating the emergency orders for gathering in the area of 10th Avenue and East 26th Street without an essential purpose, refusing to disperse, and failing to practice social distancing.
The people who were charged strictly with violating the emergency orders or local ordinances and who do not face more serious charges were charged by summons— they were not arrested. Those cases will be adjudicated in municipal court.
“One month after Governor Murphy issued his emergency orders, we are flattening the curve and saving lives, because the vast majority of our residents are conscientiously obeying the social distancing rules and doing their share to fight COVID-19,” Grewal said. “Unfortunately, there are still those who violate the orders, risking the further spread of this deadly virus. What is worse, there are some who deliberately threaten our brave police officers, medical personnel, and other essential workers, impeding their vital work. Our message to violators is that we will hold you accountable, whether it is through a summons for those who violate the social distancing orders, or an arrest on indictable charges for those who deliberately harm or threaten others during this emergency.”
“Although law enforcement and medical professionals are on the frontlines of the battle against COVID-19, we are ultimately winning the war because of the extraordinary resolve and fortitude of New Jersey citizens who are doing their part day in and day out, abiding by the executive orders and sacrificing for the greater good,” Callahan said. “Those who choose to ignore the law and selfishly place others at risk will face swift law enforcement action.”
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 people who were charged with assaulting and threatening law enforcement officers and violating the emergency orders. Specifically, those enhanced charges included terroristic threats during an emergency, a second-degree offense carrying a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Seventeen additional defendants, including Lettie Carstarphen, have been similarly charged since that time for alleged assaults or threats against law enforcement officers, medical personnel, or others.
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.