Monmouth County Assemblywomen Marilyn Piperno and Kim Eulner are working on a bill that would create a public safety task force comprised of state, county, and local law enforcement officials in light of the surge in pop-up parties at the Shore.
Earlier this year, Republican legislators from across the state, including Piperno and Eulner, urged the Governor to intervene in a coordinated plan to address the pop-up parties. Such coordination did not happen, and Piperno has since called the Governor's inaction deafening.
"Kim and I previously expressed our support of a task force to address the destructive and dangerous shore pop-up parties. But, not surprisingly, the Murphy administration failed to act, and now, two people have died as a result," Piperno said.
Last weekend, five hundred vehicles convened in Wildwood for an unsanctioned car rally that damaged storefronts and resulted in several car crashes, including one that claimed the lives of two pedestrians and another that injured a father of four, among others. A massive crowd would later form, attempting to block police intervention.
Cape May County Prosecutor Jeffery Sutherland says the investigation is ongoing but has since announced that several arrests have been made and charges filed against individuals involved in motor vehicle crashes related to the meetup, identified as H20i. Additional charges may be filed against the rally organizers who "created the chaos that led to these deaths and injuries," said Sutherland.
In May, thousands of young partygoers arrived in Long Branch to attend an advertised "beach linkup" that promoted weed and underage drinking. Eleven adults and four juveniles were arrested for fighting and vandalism after the unruly crowd created serious public safety concerns. In June 2021, another four individuals were arrested after a similar pop-up mob gathered in Long Branch.
Threats of other parties were crushed last year after officials discovered TikTok videos promoting a Fourth of July party during the planned fireworks show. This year, the city of Long Branch filed a lawsuit against the organizers to prevent a repeat of arrests, fights, and local businesses being forced to close.
In response, the Assemblywomen introduced Assembly Bill 4577, which increases penalties for riots and disorderly conduct to further prevent such disruptions. They also support legislation updating the state's riot law and creating the crimes of aggravated riot, inciting a riot, and aggravated inciting a riot.
"Keeping people safe, preventing violence and destruction, and protecting small businesses must be paramount," Eulner said. "These bills aim to address such behavior to protect our communities and law enforcement officials, ensuring they have the necessary tools to deter illegal behavior."