Of the previous week’s seven infractions of the statewide stay-at-home edict during the COVID-19 pandemic that were cited on Sunday by Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and NJ State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Saturday’s Rumson party was honed in on as the most flagrant of defiances.
“Well, you don’t get much more blatant than the party crowd in Rumson that resisted and insulted police officers who asked them to disperse,” NJ State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick Callahan said in a released statement.
As social media comments ran rampant after Rumson police on Saturday night issued a statement about the party and the blatant defiance they were met with when they broke it up, announcing a zero tolerance policy moving forward, they followed that up on Sunday an announcement that the matter was under investigation and charges were pending.
Rumson Police Chief Scott Paterson is handling all inquiries and has been contacted by R-FH Retro. His comments will be included when they become available.
In the meantime, the Attorney General has announced that charges were filed in the incident against at least one person.
“John Maldjian, 54, of Rumson, was charged today by the Rumson Police with reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct, and two separate charges related to violating the emergency orders. All are disorderly persons offenses,” the release from the Attorney General said.
The charges are all disorderly persons offenses.
Maldjian is a musician and attorney, according to his Facebook page. Police, according to the release, were dispatched at 8:19 p.m. to respond to a large party on Blackpoint Road with a band.
“When they arrived, they discovered the homeowner, John Maldjian, together with another man, playing acoustic guitars on the front porch of the home. There were approximately 30 people, between the ages of 40 and 50, gathered on Maldjian’s front lawn and the adjoining street watching the performance. Some had lawn chairs and alcoholic beverages,” the release added.
The police cars’ flashing lights and requests to end the party were ignored. The band kept playing. Maldjian did not stop singing and playing until approached by an officer.
The crowd became unruly at this point, police said, and shouting curses at police and “Welcome to Nazi Germany.”
Charges against those unruly audience members/party attendees are “forthcoming,” the Attorney General said.
“The Governor’s executive orders are commonsense measures to keep people safe during this historic health crisis,” Attorney General Grewal said. “When people like the partiers in Rumson flout the orders and show disrespect and hostility to police officers, they not only put themselves and the others immediately involved in peril, they risk inciting others to engage in such irresponsible and dangerous behavior. Our police officers are working courageously every day to protect us all, and we will continue to charge anyone who violates the emergency orders, which literally are a matter of life and death.”
The other statewide incidents cited included: 11 non-essential businesses in Newark being open; a woman arrested in Teaneck coughing and spitting on police while in custody, saying she had the virus; a Wegmans supermarket coughing incident; a dog groomer continuing to operate; a backyard gathering in Toms River; and someone bringing five youths from a youth shelter out to play basketball.
As of Sunday, there were 2,351 positive cases of COVID-19 in Monmouth County alone. In Rumson, the positive count is up to 21. In Fair Haven the count is up to 14. In Middletown, the largest municipality in the county, over the bridge from Rumson, the township has largest number of positive cases at 217 now.