POINT PLEASANT BEACH, NJ – It was all over Twitter for days, North Jersey residents from the northern urban areas were seeking to take a day to unwind together at the beach. At first, they chose Asbury Park, but a last-minute change moved the party to Point Pleasant, catching residents, Mayor Paul Kanitra and local police off guard. If it was an all-white beach party, would the response have been the same?
“Residents may notice an increased law enforcement presence in the vicinity of the boardwalk and Ocean Avenue this evening. We are asking everyone to please avoid the area so the situation can be properly resolved. More details to come soon,” Kanitra said as crowds of African American young adults began unloading from cars and trains to join the party earlier in the afternoon.
A few hours later, Kanitra hit the kill-switch on the party, calling in police from other municipalities and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department.
It was reported on extreme right-wing wanna-be blogs like SaveJersey that a Black Lives Matter protest was being hosted on the beach, but Kanitra said that wasn’t the case.
“There is currently a large unannounced party on the beach and boardwalk area in a clear violation of social distancing requirements,” Kanitra said of the large African American gathering in his town. “As a result of this situation, law enforcement personnel have been called in from neighboring towns to ensure a calm and orderly dispersement of the crowd. We anticipate a full resolution over the next few hours.”
Rumors quickly spread on social media about a Black Lives Matter rally and police arresting people, but that also wasn’t the case.
“To quell unfounded rumors, there have so far been no arrests made and no protests ongoing,” Kanitra said.
Kanitra has ruled Point Pleasant with an iron fist since the COVID-19 pandemic, being the last shore town to open its beaches and boardwalk to the general public. As for the reaction to a large beach party of African American kids, its probably not racially motivated, because until this week, Kanitra didn’t even want out of town white people in his town.
Some residents took to social media and called Kanitra a racist for how he handled today’s beach party.
“It is actually making me so mad about how badly our racist mayor is fucking up this corona situtation and how annoying all the maga residents are online lying about riots like they are making Point Pleasant businesses lose money by making our town look bad,” said one resident on Twitter.
To make matters worse, as police began dispersing the crowds, NJ Transit announced train delays this evening.
“Update: NJCL train #4772, the 9:19 PM from Bay Head, is up to 25 minutes late due to an earlier motor vehicle stuck on the tracks at Point Pleasant,” the Northern Coast Line said today.
Why are residents of Point Pleasant Beach, NJ being told to stay in their homes, if the BLM protest in their small town is peaceful. Police for neighboring towns protecting resident from “peaceful protesters”???@realDonaldTrump @FoxNews @SenTomCotton
— Judy T (@foxie531) June 10, 2020
Right-wing blogger Matt Rooney broke the news tonight, reporting a “BLM rally” in Point Pleasant. Rooney later removed his tweet after Kanitra said it was not a protest.