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Newark Police Ticket 161 'Knuckleheads' For Violating Coronavirus Curfew

Newark police.
Newark police. Photo Credit: COURTESY: Newark PD

Newark police closed 15 non-essential businesses and issued 161 summonses to people accused of violating governmental orders designed to combat the coronavirus, authorities said Tuesday.

The tickets are further proof that authorities won't tolerate "knucklehead gatherings," Gov. Phil Murphy said.

"I don't know why people are not thinking about themselves," NJ State Police Supt. Col. Patrick Callahan said during the governor's daily news briefing . "At least think about the first responders. When law enforcement has to go to a large gathering, (they) are exposing themselves, as well.

"We are going to take action," the colonel added. "I think the city of Newark showed [Monday] night what that policy would look like.”

A force of 150 Newark police officers headed into the various neighborhoods on Monday, using in-vehicle public address systems, roadway checkpoints and business checks to ensure compliance for community safety.

In addition to shutting down non-essential businesses that violated a closure order from Murphy, they issued summonses to individuals who defied an 8 p.m. curfew imposed 10 days ago by  Mayor Ras Baraka.

“We will continue to be out  moving people off the corners and streets,” Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose said. “We want to save lives.“

Baraka urged citizens to stay at home and to not come out unless it’s an emergency. Exceptions: to go to the supermarket/local store for essentials, pharmacy, doctor, walk the dog, step out for fresh air in front or back of home/doorstep/porch/terrace or for essential employees to go to and from work.

The mayor also asked that all minors be accompanied by an adult and that everyone maintain the Center for Disease Control’s recommendation of keeping six feet apart.

Authorities "assume there’s some amount of ignorance," Murphy said Tuesday.

However, he added, "the more swift, visible action that is taken…the more quickly we can bring this non-compliant behavior to zero. We have got to bring compliance to 100 percent."

The governor asked New Jersey residents to stay at home except for necessary travel and reminded everyone that he's banned social gatherings and ordered non-essential businesses to close until the outbreak is under control.

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