TOMS RIVER, NJ — Toms River police dispersed a large party Saturday night at the home of one of the candidates for the Toms River Regional Board of Education, after a social media post led to teenagers "pouring into our backyard," the candidate and police said Sunday.
Authorities were called to Yellowbank Road about 8:40 p.m. Saturday for reports of a large party with loud music, said Jillian Messina, media relations specialist for the Toms River Police Department. The party was shut down, but no charges were filed, she said.
The home belongs to Bridget Maillard, who is seeking a seat on the school board in Tuesday's election.
The limit on outdoor gatherings in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic is 500 people, but Gov. Phil Murphy has repeatedly criticized large gatherings even when they do not exceed the limit. Murphy and state Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli have urged teens and young adults in particular to refrain from large gatherings going back to the summer, after several large gatherings were linked to clusters of cases of the coronavirus, including in Middletown and on Long Beach Island.
"This has been twisted and made into something sensational by fake sites and continued shots aimed at myself and my running mates," Maillard said in a reply to a request for comment.
Maillard confirmed her son, John, posted an invite on Tik Tok for a party at the family's home.
"We were allowing my son to have a gathering at our home after trick or treating," Maillard said. The invite was picked up by a Snapchat page named "Ocean County Parties," which then spread the word, she said.
"My son asked them (Ocean County Parties) to take it down in which they refused," Maillard said.
"Kids were pouring into our backyard," she said. "We were thankful the police came ... and helped us clear out the backyard, as we were trying to do that ourselves."
Maillard said the officers who responded told her said they had seen the social media post because they monitor the Ocean County Parties page.
"The police department does not have a SnapChat account, nor do we monitor the site," Messina said. "Officers were dispatched to Yellowbank Rd on October 31st in response to an anonymous call regarding a large party."
John Maillard's Tik Tok post advertised the party as 7 p.m. to midnight, telling people to come in costume and said "DJ Matt Sags" would perform from 9:30 p.m. to midnight.
A video posted by John Maillard on Tik Tok after the party was broken up starts with the text "I had a Halloween party that got busted in an hour and a half and here's how it went," and shows clips of of a large number of teenagers milling around. Few are wearing any face coverings and very little social distancing is apparent. It ends with the arrival of police cars.
John Maillard captioned it "blow this up since the opps shut us down" and tagged the Nelk Boys, a group that drew Murphy's ire after more than 1,500 people showed up to an impromptu gathering in Seaside Heights in September.
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