All Over NJ, People are Getting in Trouble Over Virus-order Violations
The state Attorney General's Office released another "knucklehead roll call" of people who've violated the governor's emergency orders prohibiting gatherings and mandating the closure of non-essential businesses.
Earlier last month, police had been giving out warnings. But in recent weeks, people and businesses have been ticketed or slapped with felony and misdemeanor charges.
Prosecutors are also cracking down on people coughing or spitting on police, which was already a crime, while claiming to have the dangerous novel coronavirus. Those people are charged with making second-degree terroristic threats in addition to assault on police, regardless of whether they're sick.
“For a defendant to intentionally expose an officer to COVID-19 is not just an assault on that officer, it’s an assault on their family members, fellow officers, and the general public. Anyone who uses the virus as a weapon against an officer will face a swift law enforcement response," Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said this week.
Murphy has used the word "knucklehead" to describe violators.
Among this week's violations:
- Newark Enforcement. The Newark Police Department’s COVID-19 task force issued 416 summonses for violation of the emergency orders and ordered 24 non-essential businesses closed in enforcement actions between March 30 and April 1.
- Joseph Figueroa, 18; Hailey Leavens, 19; Alejandra Aguirre-Lopez, 22; Itayezci Pena-Noyola, 22; and Isais Pena, 20, all residents of Atlantic City except Leavens, who lives in Mays Landing, were arrested on April 2 on second-degree weapons charges and violations of the executive orders after a loaded .38-caliber revolver was found in their vehicle during an investigation and motor vehicle stop by the Atlantic City Police Department.
- Craig O’Neill, 42, of Gloucester City, was charged on March 28 in Gloucester City with violating the emergency orders and trespassing at a business, both disorderly persons offenses.
- Edward Montero, 33, of Bridgeton, was charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders for holding a health supplement sales presentation at a gym with more than 10 people.
- Rama Igbarra, 36, of Clifton, was charged on March 26 with violating the emergency orders for opening the business he manages, Bobby’s Discount Home Furnishings, in Orange after police had warned him that the store had to be closed.
- Matthew Shrewsbury, 34, of Milford, was charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders, terroristic threats, aggravated assault, risking widespread injury, and endangering another person. He allegedly became combative with staff at Hunterdon Medical Center, where he was taken following a motor vehicle accident. Shrewsbury allegedly removed a protective surgical mask from his face, yelled and coughed at nurses and staff. Police said he threatened to spit on nurses and patients. He allegedly said he had COVID-19 and that he did not care if he gave it to others.
- Wade Jackson, 54, of Ewing, was charged on March 28 with obstruction of administration of law and violation of the emergency orders for holding a party with a DJ and nearly 50 guests inside his one-bedroom apartment in Ewing.
- Willi Rojas, 42, of Woodbridge, was charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders for opening his barbershop.
- Joseph H. Benigno, 56, of Holmdel, was charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders for holding an auction with 15 to 20 people at a warehouse in Edison.
- Steven P. Cato, 20, of Edison, was charged on April 1 with terroristic threats during an emergency, obstruction, resisting arrest, three counts of aggravated assault on an officer, and criminal mischief. When police were called to his house for a domestic incident, he allegedly coughed at officers and claimed to have COVID-19.
- Juan Ocampo-Quiceno, 29, of Wharton, was charged on April 1 with violating the executive orders for opening his business, Mine Hill Sports Complex in Wharton, after he had been warned to close it. Police found young people playing soccer and men lifting weights at the facility.
- Christian Enriquez, 29, of North Plainfield, was charged on April 1 with violating the emergency orders.
- Anekia Dawkins, 35, of Morristown, was charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders.
- Anthony J. Lodespoto, 43, of Matawan, allegedly sent messages through social media threatening to attack Jewish residents in Lakewood with a baseball bat. He was charged on March 26 with making terroristic threats during a state of emergency.
- William J. Katzenstein, 39, of Lakewood, was charged on March 26 with violating the emergency orders for holding a wedding with 20 to 30 people in his backyard.
- Eliezer Silber, 37, and Miriam Silber, 34, of Lakewood, were charged on March 29 with violating the emergency orders and five counts of child neglect for holding a bat mitzvah with 40 to 50 adults and children outside their home.
- David Gluck, 48, and Abraham Haberfield, 32, of Lakewood, were charged on March 30 with maintaining a nuisance for holding a gathering of approximately 35 males in a school facility that Gluck owns and Haberfield manages.
- Yaakov Kaufman, 47, and Eti Kaufman, 45, of Lakewood, were charged on March 31 with violating the emergency orders and six counts of child neglect for holding an engagement party at their home with a large number of adults and children. Thirteen adult guests also were charged with violating the emergency orders.
- Samuel Manheim, 27, of Brooklyn, and 16 other individuals were charged on April 1 with violating the emergency orders for attending an outdoor funeral in Lakewood. Manheim was also charged with hindering apprehension for initially refusing to identify himself to police. Approximately 60 to 70 people were present for the funeral.
- Ephraim Adler, 42, and Sarah Adler, 18, of Lakewood, were charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders for opening the Brooklyn Southwest clothing store in Lakewood to customers. A sign on the door stated “Maximum of 50 People.”aleatorio
- Nathan Kline, 66, of Lakewood, was charged on April 2 with violating the emergency orders for illegally selling alcohol out of a rental truck in a residential neighborhood where more than 10 people were present.
- Rafael Medina, 21; Robert Feliz, 18; Edwin Valera, 25; Miguel Lopez, 22; and Angel Gonzalez, 18, were charged on March 31 with disorderly conduct for violating the emergency orders after police stopped the vehicle in which they were riding in Passaic.
- Joyce Billings, 59, of Columbia, was charged twice by police for opening her business, Post Time Pub in Blairstown, in violation of the emergency orders. She was charged with obstruction on March 27 and violation of a law intended to protect public health on April 2.
- Jacqueline Maltese, 48, of Hackettstown, was charged on April 2 with simple assault and filing a false police report. During a domestic violence incident, Maltese repeatedly yelled at officers that she had tested positive for COVID-19, which was not true, police said.
- Louis A. Nunez, 52, of Manalapan, was charged on April 2 with making terroristic threats during a state of emergency and throwing bodily fluid at an officer. As he was being booked at the Monmouth County Jail on an unrelated matter, he became belligerent and allegedly threated to spit on a corrections officer, stating he had the coronavirus, police said.
Not part of the list is a Trenton teen who was charged with juvenile offenses after West Windsor police said she coughed at a woman who asked her to move back from her while they waited at a checkout at the Wegmans store on Route 1.
West Windsor police said the 16-year-old girl gave the woman "attitude" and refused the request. The girl and her mother told a West Windsor police officer working a detail at the store that they were working for Instacart and were behind a line on the floor designating a distance of 6 feet between individuals in line.
The girl's mother continued a conversation with the other woman because the mother did not like the way she was speaking to her daughter, police said.
An investigation determined the girl was not standing an appropriate distance away and that when the girl coughed, she claimed to be infected with COVID-19.
Police signed juvenile petitions against the teen for harassment and obstruction of justice. A petition is not a formal charge but requires a Family Court appearance where a judge will determine if the juvenile will face charges.