The police are determined to keep you safe during this lockdown — even if it means arresting you in the process. Remember, they’re just looking out for you.
In the latest escalation between authorities and gym-goers in Bellmawr, New Jersey, five cops took a man into custody after he allegedly refused to give his name upon leaving Atilis Gym.
The Camden County workout spot has become an unlikely flashpoint in the reopening debate as the gym has remained open in defiance of an order by Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.
“This gathering is a violation of the governor’s order,” Bellmawr Police Lt. Mike Draham told those gathered outside last Tuesday, according to NJ.com.
“You are directed to immediately and peaceably disperse. If you do not disperse you can be charged. You can protest from your vehicle. … That’s all we have right now.”
Gym owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti were handed tickets that could end up with them paying $1,000.
While the crowd on Tuesday was smaller than it was on May 18, when the gym first opened, there were still enough people that police felt the need to bust things up.
In the most dramatic case, one gym-goer was escorted to the back of a cop car by no fewer than five officers because he wouldn’t proffer his name.
WARNING: The following video contains graphic language that some viewers will find offensive.
One member arrested, 3 others stopped as they left @TheAtilisGym.
We’re told by the owners the man who was taken by police refused to give his name.
Owners say they’re warning their members before they enter every day that this is a possibility.@News12NJ pic.twitter.com/R1w3BnKogH
— Erika Shych (@erikashych) May 19, 2020
I know that video makes a lot of people angry, so I want you to go back and take a look at it. Then take a look at it again.
At what point does the gentleman being arrested put up any sort of resistance?
One police officer putting this guy in the back of the car would have been more than enough. The others could have looked after the crowd outside of the Atilis Gym, which was clearly a bit restive at this point. But, nope, apparently this guy needed all sorts of police protection to get him in the back of a cruiser.
Perhaps this had something to do with Murphy, who decided to play the Garden State’s bad cop after the gym opened on Monday.
“We will take action,” Murphy said. “If you show up at that gym tomorrow, there’s going to be a different reality than showing today.”
As of right now, the governor enjoys a 77 percent approval rating. And, at least for the New Jerseyites living in the immediate New York City suburbs, this makes a lot of sense.
The problem, however, is the same as in so many other states: Atilis Gym is in Camden County, in the southern part of the state outside of Philadelphia. That’s far from the epicenter of the crisis in New Jersey.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, “five others were issued summons violations for using the gym. Owners Smith and Frank Trumbetti also were charged with a disorderly person’s offense Monday as a large crowd gathered out front of the gym on Browning Road. They have also been cited for defying the state’s shutdown order.”
Murphy has continued to defend his hard line on gyms, even as he’s said that they could be open in “a matter of weeks, not months.”
“Overwhelmingly, gym operators are doing the right thing. … Overwhelmingly, there’s compliance,” Murphy said during a media briefing Thursday.
“If you’re indoors, you don’t have ventilation. You’re in close proximity. You’re sedentary and/or you’re sweating and spitting and breathing heavily. It’s a petri dish.”
However, the owners say they’re taking the appropriate precautions.
“The gym owners have said they rearranged the gym equipment to provide more social distancing and the staff would be stepping up cleaning efforts. On Monday, staffers took temperatures of members entering to workout and Smith said they will limit capacity to 20% or about 44 people at a time. Members and staff are also required to wear face coverings,” NJ.com reported last week.
The issue is mostly academic at this point. On Friday night, a judge ordered Atilis Gym to stay closed until the governor’s order is lifted. A hearing was set for June 8.
Following the incident, Smith took to Instagram to call Murphy a “slimeball.”
My assumption is that the point of kissing up to Murphy has long passed, so this probably isn’t going to do any harm.
While calling the governor of the state a “slimeball” also isn’t exactly the kind of tactic you normally hear nor is it something that’ll make much headway, it’s something that you’re going to hear a lot more of when you consider the fact the state seems determined to crack down on any business that dares reopen before the governor decides it’s time.
For now, that may get the governor a 77 percent approval rating. The longer the state stays closed, though, the more that number’s going to erode.
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