Rumson man faces charges for front lawn concert, despite COVID-19
New Jersey has "named and shamed" another several residents facing charges for violating emergency directives during the COVID-19 health crisis. Among Sunday's roundup, a Rumson man who hosted a front lawn concert that attracted 30 adults, a man in Toms River who held a backyard party and a dog groomer in North Jersey who continued to operate her non-essential business.
State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick Callahan announced the charges filed against violators of Governor Phil Murphy’s emergency orders.
Rumson Police on Sunday charged 54-year-old borough resident, John Maldjian with disorderly persons offenses, including reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and two separate charges related to violating the emergency orders for the front lawn party he hosted the night before.
Before 8:30 p.m. Saturday, police responded to a report of a "large party with a band." Maldjian and a second man were playing acoustic guitars, performing songs by the classic rock band, Pink Floyd, to a crowd of about 30 people. When forced to leave, police said some of the adults in the crowd cursed at officers, others shouted "Welcome to Nazi Germany." Charges related to those disorderly “audience” members are forthcoming, Grewal and Callahan said.
Other violations of emergency orders over the past week included the following:
Sughuy Cepeda, 43, of Teaneck, was charged with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency, two counts of third-degree aggravated assault on an officer, obstruction, resisting arrest, and violation of a temporary restraining order. Englewood Police arrested Cepeda on Saturday, during which they said she spit and coughed at officers several times, also spitting water at officers, while saying she was COVID-19 positive.
A 16-year-old female is facing charges as a juvenile for harassment and obstruction of justice stemming from an incident in West Windsor. Police said the teen "purposely" coughed on another shopper at a Wegmans food store on March 31. According to police, a woman had asked the teen to "step back because she was too close," which started a fight between the teen and her mother. Police said the teen moved aside a facial mask she was wearing, walked closer and coughed toward the woman while claiming that she had coronavirus.
Rockaway Police said 61-year-old Rita Lacis, of Parsippany, was charged with violating the emergency order Saturday, April 4, after receiving an initial warning for keeping her dog grooming service open. Police said Lacis told them she "misunderstood the order requiring closure of all non-essential businesses." She was charged after officers said they saw customers drop off a dog a while later.
Saul Rosen, 52, of Toms River, was charged Saturday, April 4, with violating the emergency orders for hold a gathering in his backyard with more than 20 people, police said.
Luke Shuscavage, 27, of Princeton, was charged Friday, April 3, with violating the emergency orders for bringing 5 young people from a youth shelter to a park in Raritan Township to play basketball, according to police.
Between April 3 and 4, the Newark Police COVID-19 task force issued 180 summonses for violation of the emergency orders and ordered 11 non-essential businesses closed.
Violations of the emergency orders are a disorderly persons offense, carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Depending on the circumstances, police said violators could also potentially face criminal charges.
On Friday evening, Grewal's office released a separate "knucklehead roll call" of people who recently violated the governor's emergency orders, from continuing to gather in crowds to non-essential businesses remaining open.