YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — A man who was warned Wednesday about holding a large gathering at a South Side Youngstown home in defiance of a state order was issued a citation Thursday after police were called again.
Eugene Thompkins, 28, was issued a summons after police were called about 6:05 p.m. to a 205 E. Boston Ave. home Thompkins said he lived at.
Reports said all South Side patrol cars were sent to the gathering by the afternoon turn shift commander after they received a complaint that lots of people were at the home.
When officers got there, they reported finding several cars at the home and several people there who did not live there.
They were ordered to leave and told if they took part in another large gathering, they could be cited.
Thompkins, who told police that he lived there, was warned Wednesday after officers broke up another large gathering at his home, reports said.
The state has banned gatherings of over 10 people to try and stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Ohio.
Youngstown police Chief Robin Lees said the department had received sporadic complaints about gatherings.
He said officers are giving warnings first in order to minimize contact with people but if those warnings are ignored, citations will follow.
“If they get a warning and still ignore the request, we’re going to have to take enforcement action,” Lees said.
Boardman police Chief Todd Werth said his department has also received some social distancing complaints, but those have come from people complaining about groups in places like parks rather than gatherings at private homes.
Werth said officers do check those complaints, but he said it is hard to do anything if, for example, a large family is together and they pass another person or family.
Werth said the department is also weighing on charging someone if they are already arrested committing a crime. He said an extra charge for violating the stay at home order may be warranted because that person is putting first responders and the public in danger of catching the virus if they are infected.
“We’ll consider it on a case-by-case basis,” Werth said.