After Long Branch mobbed, NJ senator wants to legislate ‘good behavior’ at beach
Monmouth County state Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, said that he will be introducing legislation to financially punish those who promote future pop-up parties following Saturday’s event in Long Branch.
An estimated 5,000 people showed up Saturday for a party promoted on social media that led to 15 arrests, an overnight curfew and the use of a flash-bang and smoke to disperse the crowd.
“Some of these videos I saw were absolutely disgraceful and the amount of garbage left on the streets in the aftermath was disgusting,” Gopal said in a post on his Facebook page. Gopal is a resident of Long Branch.
The Democrat said his legislation would increase penalties for those who are violent, increase fines for anyone who threatens violence on a social media platform, make the organizer (or parents) responsible for the cost of destruction of public property and fund mobile surveillance towers for local police.
Gopal said that he is not looking to keep people from visiting Long Branch. He just expects people to behave and follow the law.
"You can't be unruly. You can't throw garbage on the ground. You can't destroy property. You can't get into fights. You have to act like adults," Gopal told New Jersey 101.5. "You can't have open containers of alcohol. You can't have marijuana on the beach. These are all against the law. People need to follow the law."
Disrespect goes beyond law enforcement
Gopal thinks that disrespectful behavior and raucous behavior in Long Branch affects more than law enforcement. It's the businesses that have to close early and residents in and around Pier Village who feel the impact. He said the area is more than just luxury apartments owned by former President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.
"These small businesses that have to shut down at 9 p.m. that's really not fair to them," Gopal said. " On the other side of town, there's a senior center. There's a lot of middle-class families there, Black and brown families that have to wake up with garbage all over their lawns."
"We need to strengthen our laws and make sure people are held accountable. You can't just break laws," Gopal said.
Summer of 2022
The chaos in Long Branch this year comes as New Jersey begins its first summer after greenlighting the sale of recreational marijuana.
New Jersey 101.5 will broadcast a special town hall 7 p.m. Thursday to discuss what New Jersey can expect this summer at the shore.
The program, which will be carried on Facebook Live, will include tourism officials, local mayors, law enforcement and travel experts.