Cops break up Lakewood gathering of 40-plus adults and children
LAKEWOOD — A mother and father were each charged with child endangerment after police say officers broke up a gathering of 40 to 50 people at their home on Sunday — in violation of the governor’s executive order prohibiting gatherings of any number to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The Ocean County Health Department said there have been hundreds of confirmed coronavirus cases in Lakewood alone; the state's tally for county Ocean County overall was at 759 on Sunday.
Eliezer Silber, 37, and Miriam Silber, 34, both of Lakewood were charged after Lakewood police responded to their Alamitos Drive home on a report of a large gathering, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.
Officers found a gathering of 40 to 50 adults and children on the front lawn of the house that spilled onto the street, according to Billhimer. He said the crowd was ordered to disperse. He did not reveal the reason for the gathering.
Eliezer Silber was also charged with violating any rule or regulation adopted by the governor. The couple is will appear in Ocean County Superior Court at a date to be determined.
“My office will prosecute any individual who defies or breaks the law, State of Emergency or otherwise. Everyone must respect and follow the law,” Billhimer said in a statement.
News of repeated incidents in Lakewood has brought negative attention to the Ocean County township with a population of over 110,000 and a large religious Jewish community. Gov. Phil Murphy, in a press conference last week, said acts of hate against that community or any other minority wouldn't be tolerated. Late last week, a Howell man's Facebook comments got him arrested after police said he threatened to go to Lakewood and harm Jewish residents with a baseball bat.
During Friday's daily COVID-19 briefing by state officials, State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan said he met via conference call with Lakewood leaders, including Billhimer, police chief Gregory Meyer and Deputy Mayor Menashe Miller.
"99.9% of the residents of Lakewood and throughout New Jersey are complying with the aspects of this," Callahan said.
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