Another ‘Knucklehead Party’ — 500 Told to Leave House in Howell
Howell Police said they broke up a large "pop-up" party in a Monmouth County on Sunday afternoon.
Police from seven law enforcement agencies helped bring the party on Wilson Circle in the Ramtown section of Howell under control, according to Howell police. About 300 people were in attendance when police arrived, but more kept showing up, ballooning the figure to around 500, Howell police Sgt. Christian Antunez said.
Most people attending the party dispersed but some lingered in the neighborhood, urinating on property and vehicles, according to police.
Most of those at the party were from out of town, according to police, who said roads in and out of the neighborhood were blocked to prevent more people from getting to the party
Police homeowner Ronald Chatman, 37, who hosted the party, was charged with violating the state executive orders limiting crowd sizes as well as with a domestic violence offense.
There were cabanas around the pool and a DJ, Antunez said. Some people paid upward of $650 to reserve a spot in a cabana, he said. The host had hired security for the event, he said.
Under executive orders issued by Gov. Phil Murphy, outdoor gatherings in New Jersey are currently capped at 500 people, and indoor ones at 25 people or 25 percent of a room's capacity, whichever is smaller. Murphy has taken to calling people who violate his orders, intended to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, "knuckleheads."
Many told to leave the Howell party directed their anger at its host, who charged admission, police said. The party was advertised on Instagram as a party called the "Real Big Drip 5," with tickets being sold at $40 for men and $30 for women, according to a report by NJ.com.
A large party with 700 people was broken up in Jackson on July 26 and a campus party with student athletes was blamed for putting the entire Rutgers football program on quarantine. Murphy has said incidents like those threaten to reverse the progress New Jersey has made containing the spread of the virus.
Police from Wall, Brick, Jackson and Freehold as well as the Monmouth and Ocean County Sheriffs Offices and State Police all assisted Howell police.
Giant Alpine House Party
In Apline, police also announced Monday they'd charged Tashay Knight, of Newark, with recklessly creating a risk of widespread injury of damage as well as violations of the governor's executive orders, in connnection to an Aug. 1 party involving hundreds of people.
Police said in that incident, 300 to 400 people had purchased tickets online, and most in attendance weren't wearing protective gear or social distancing. It took officers three to four hours to clear everyone out, police said.
Police said they'd previously responded to the same Hemlock Drive home for noise complaints, and an event on July 5. The homeowner, Joseph LaBarbiera, cooperated with police and said he'd leased the property to Wonder Boy Music Group for events, police said. Knight had been host of the parties, they said.
He turned himself in on Friday, police said.
This story has been updated to reflect additional information from police, including a clarification as to the size of the crowd.