Police said they found 200 or so partiers – few wearing masks or social distancing – along with drugs, alcohol and disabled fire alarms during a pre-dawn raid of a rented space above a Domino's in Englewood.
Criminal charges and summonses for COVID offenses and building violations were pending after the raid shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday at the space rented by multi-entertainment company Feenx Enterprises above the Domino's on West Palisade Avenue.
Officers responding to a noise and disturbance complaint found the throng of attendees, “most not wearing masks or practicing social distancing,” Deputy Police Chief Gregory Halstead said Monday. “Additionally, there was a bar setup and speakers.
“It appeared to be a nightclub-type [arrangement],” Halstead added. “There was widespread consumption of alcohol and narcotics at the establishment.”
Police secured the Feenx space as a crime scene, after which city code enforcement officers closed it to further use.
No immediate arrests were immediately made as the investigation continued through the overnight into Sunday morning.
Halstead noted that authorities were preparing criminal charges and summonses for violating state COVID executive orders, in addition to fire and building code violations.
An executive order issued by Gov. Phil Murphy last week limits indoor gatherings to 10 people. Murphy made certain exceptions – including weddings, funerals, performances, religious ceremonies and political events – but limited those to no more than 150 people.
Selom Gbate, the company’s founder and president, referred questions to attorney Deshaw Jackson.
Jackson, who has offices in Jersey City, Freehold and Howell Township, said she couldn't comment without reviewing the facts of the case first.
She got back to Daily Voice on Tuesday.
"Feenx Entertainment denies any wrongdoing or participation in any alleged crime," Jackson wrote in a one-sentence email.
The raid comes amid what have been increasing tensions between police and some community members in Englewood.
Government sources called it “the culmination of several incidents” involving large crowds at the site, which had a great opening with city officials in September 2019.
The police investigation includes video surveillance that shows people coming and going, they said.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.