700 people at huge Jackson house party — that’s a lot of ‘knuckleheads’
Jackson police said it took more than four hours to clear 700 people from a home that had been rented out as an Airbnb on Sunday night.
It was the second huge party in Ocean County that police broke up within a week. Under current New Jersey restrictions intended to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, indoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 100 people — or 25 percent of a room's normal capacity, whichever is less — and outdoor gatherings to 500 people.
Gov. Phil Murphy has taken to calling people who violate his coronavirus-related executive orders "knuckleheads."
Neighbors on Mill Pond Road in the Whispering Hill neighborhood called police around 8:30 p.m about the large party at the home of Yaakov Weiss, 40, who told police he rented out the home for a party and left.
Jackson police said they monitored the neighborhood as a steady stream of people arrived at the party, which grew to an estimated crowd of 700 people with well over 100 vehicles parked in the area. All of Jackson's on-duty officers were called in help clear the crowd from the residence and shut down the roads leading to the house to stop even more people from coming to the party, police said.
Police from Freehold, Howell and Lakewood, as well as State Police, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and Ocean County Sheriff’s Department assisted Jackson in clearing out the party and traffic control.
Police told News 12 New Jersey Weiss had owned the home for only a few days. A post on Instagram said the party would have free alcohol, free food and a twerking contest offering a cash prize, according to News 12.
A copy of a flier posed by the Ocean County Scanner News Facebook page said the "Mansion Party" was to celebrate "Liberian Independence Day the right way." The holiday commemorates the independence in 1847 of the Republic of Africa located in Africa.
Neighbors told News 12 that people at the party were smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol, and left behind a large amount of trash.
Some people from the party broke into a home on Overlook Drive and caused damage to the house, according to Jackson police. The party-goers had been invited to the Overlook Drive house and were dispersed by police when they refused to leave, police said.
Jackson police said it took until 1 a.m. to clear everyone from both houses and get vehicles out of the neighborhood.
Patience Guanue, 23, and Alicia Hinneh, 22, both of Newark, were identified as the organizers of the party, police said. They and Weiss were issued summonses for violating Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order limiting gathering sizes.
In a separate incident, Brick police were called to a house on Atlantic Drive in the Baywood section of that community on July 20, when 400 people arrived at a house party.
Homeowner Michelle Cicchillo, 23, told officers the party grew beyond her control and guests refused to leave, according to Brick police spokesman Jim Kelly. It took several hours for police to go through the neighborhood and tell party-goers to leave, according to Kelly, who said people were mostly cooperative except for a few who were intoxicated and belligerent.
Cicchillo sent a letter of apology to Ocean County Scanner News, saying the party grew out of control and that asked police to help shut it down. Cicchillo said she is a single mother from New York who moved with her daughter and brother in search of a better life.
“I realize it was a huge mistake. I cannot undo what was done but I can promise for it to never happen again,” she wrote.