The NYPD busted around 40 people at a 4/20 "pot party" in Manhattan on Monday after receiving a tip from someone who was concerned about people breaking social distancing guidelines.
A police spokesperson tells Gothamist that cops were flagged down by a concerned person in the neighborhood who observed a group of people entering a West 23rd Street commercial building around, not a joke, 4:20 p.m. Monday. They then found 38 people smoking pot in a vacant commercial location on the third floor, along with tons of marijuana, edibles, and other THC paraphernalia.
NBC reports that the party was hosted by a marijuana edibles company called "Ganja Pigs." Cops add that they believe the people there "remained from a larger group" who were not caught.
Altogether, all 38 people received summonses for unlawful trespassing; five people received summonses for marijuana possession; two people had previous warrants for failing to appear for court appearances for non-violent offenses; and one person was taken to police in Brooklyn in relation to a previous investigation for burglary.
On Saturday, police busted up a party of dozens of people at a Canarsie barbershop, issuing 60 summonses and arresting two people on gun possession charges. Cops have busted other "illegal speakeasies" since the state was put on mandatory shutdown in March.
Since the start of the month, cops have been out monitoring for social distancing, and even arresting people for violations of the decree even as they themselves have sent some mixed messaging with regards to their own behavior.
The New York Civil Liberties Union has said, "We cannot arrest our way out of this crisis... In fact, the virus spreads through exactly the kind of close person-to-person contact that arrests require, so committing a minor offense could actually cost people their lives."
Last week, a new state rule requiring everyone to don face coverings or a mask when they head outside went into effect. Governor Andrew Cuomo said no fines are in place under the executive order yet, but Mayor Bill de Blasio has warned that fines up to $1,000 could be issued for social distancing violations and has asked New Yorkers to send tips about possible violations to the city.
"When you're partying in the middle of a pandemic, you're risking your life and the life of everyone around you," de Blasio said during a press conference this weekend. "And I understand young people, I understand teenagers, I understand everything that they feel and maybe they don't hear information the same way adults do, but you know what, this is different than anything we've lived through in our entire lives. The message has been given over and over again about how dangerous this situation is."
Public Advoate Jumaane Williams said his office would be asking for demographic information about who was being given social distancing summonses.