TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, 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 34 summonses for violations of the emergency orders and ordered two non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions yesterday, April 8.
- Sean M. McGuire, 42, of Camden, was charged yesterday, April 8, with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency, third-degree endangering, and fourth-degree risking widespread injury. McGuire allegedly refused to follow medical advice to self-quarantine and said he did not “give a [expletive] who he infected.” He allegedly threatened security staff at Cooper University Hospital and refused to cooperate with officers of the Camden Police who encountered him at the Walter Rand Transportation Center.
- Willie Boles, 50, and Charles E. Scotton, 51, both of Pennsauken, were charged on Tuesday, April 7, by the Camden Police with violating the emergency orders and gambling in public. The two men allegedly held a large craps game on Marlton Avenue in Camden with approximately 19 people present. They were warned last month when they organized a similar gambling event.
- Albert E. French, 33, of Milford, was charged in Clinton Township on Tuesday, April 7, with violating the emergency orders and disorderly conduct for walking back and forth along Route 22 displaying obscene poster boards and making obscene gestures to motorists.
- Moshe Knopfler, 55, of Union City, was charged with violation of the emergency orders (disorderly persons offense) and failure to disperse (petty disorderly persons offense). Police had warned Knopfler on several prior occasions when he held gatherings on his property. He was charged on Tuesday, April 7, when police found approximately 13 people on his property.
- Elizabeth Fernandez, 56, of Woodland Park, and Juan Rosario, 60, of Paterson, were charged by the Paterson police on Tuesday evening, April 7, with two violations of the emergency orders for opening Quilvio Tavern at 933 Main Street, where police found customers gathered inside and drinking at the bar.
- Armin, Mahesh, 59, of Iselin, was charged with violating the emergency orders and alcoholic beverage control regulations at the liquor store he owns with his wife. Police responded to Medina Liquor Store at 709 East Jersey Street on a report that groups were gathering at the store and drinking alcohol. Officers found a number of patrons consuming alcoholic beverages in a back room of the store in violation of regulations and the emergency orders. Authorities shut down the business, where responding inspectors found multiple code violations.
- Ibrahim Muhammad, 25, and Ashley Appleton-Tims, 25, both of Brick, were charged yesterday, April 8, with violating the emergency orders for opening the Coliseum Barbershop & Hair Salon in Brick. Ibrahim is the owner of the business, and Appleton-Tims is a salon employee who was assisting a client when police arrived yesterday.
- Cheyenne M. Scott, 19, of Clayton, was charged with harassment, a petty disorderly persons offense, for spitting on a man yesterday in Clayton and then claiming she had COVID-19.
- Richard Mariano, 66, of Randolph, was charged yesterday, April 8, with violating the emergency orders, theft by unlawful taking (disorderly persons offense), trespassing (petty disorderly persons offense), and disorderly conduct. Mariano allegedly entered the Randolph Township Recycling Center, stole a refrigerator from one of the recycling containers, then violently dismantled it by the side of the road while yelling at township employees.
- Steven C. Singleton, 29, Camden, was arrested on April 5 at the Walter Rand Transportation Center in Camden, where he loitered for approximately 20 minutes, interacting with various persons and not taking any transportation. When he was approached by police, he allegedly resisted arrest and was found to be in possession of a small amount of marijuana and two ecstasy pills (methylenedioxymethamphetamine—MDMA). He was charged with possession of ecstasy (3rd degree), possession of marijuana (disorderly persons offense), and resisting arrest (disorderly persons offense).
- Madison L. Greenetz 25, of Cherry Hill, was charged on April 2, with violating the emergency orders, providing alcohol to minor (disorderly persons offense), and trespassing in violation of a local ordinance (petty disorderly persons offense). She allegedly was drinking alcohol in a township park with a juvenile.
- William L. Joseph, 20 , of Lindenwold, was charged yesterday, April 8, with violating the emergency orders and defiant trespass, both disorderly persons offenses. Joseph was previously warned that outdoor basketball courts in the borough are closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but police found him playing basketball in a park. Signs also indicated that the court was closed.
“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,” said Attorney General Grewal. “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,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “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. 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 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.
Photo by Guillermo Velarde.