LONG BRANCH, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Authorities in Monmouth County, New Jersey said 15 people, including four juveniles, were arrested over the weekend after a pop-up party.
Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Lori Linskey said in a statement that the flyer calling for a pop-up party at Pier Village in Long Branch on Saturday resulted in thousands of people converging in Long Branch.
The prosecutor's office said a public safety emergency ensued as a result of multiple fights breaking out throughout parts of the city involving the partygoers.
This caused city officials to impose a 9 p.m. curfew.
"Please be advised that there is a curfew in place TONIGHT in the city of Long Branch beginning at 9 p.m. All are asked to be off the streets by this time. Non-residents should begin leaving immediately. #LongBranch #monmouthcounty," the Long Branch Police Department posted on Facebook Saturday evening.
Long Branch Mayor John Pallone's office said at 9:22 p.m., the crowds were asked to leave. By 10:17 p.m., they said the area was cleared.
Authorities believe the majority of attendees arrived by train and were not residents of the area.
Linskey said law enforcement officials from the Long Branch Police Department, Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office, Monmouth County Emergency Response Team, Monmouth and Middlesex Rapid Deployment Forces, Monmouth County Sheriff's Office, New Jersey State Police, Department of Corrections and NJ Transit Police, all responded to the area.
"I don't hear any public comments about what had occurred in Long Branch," Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden said. "And that's unfortunate, because people have to know it's wrong. They know they can come to the Jersey Shore, but if they break the law, and, certainly, test parameters of the law, law enforcement is going to act, and we're going to react."
"These are businesses that are operating that closed at that period of time, shut down because they were scared for their safety," Freeholder Thomas Arnone said.
Except for several minor arrests resulting from the fights that took place among the partygoers, authorities said the crowd dispersed peacefully after the announcement of the curfew.
"The City of Long Branch requires that all formalized gatherings must obtain a special event permit, per city ordinance. In the case of these 'pop-up' beach parties, that does not happen. The City has now made a total of 15 arrests due to the fighting and unruly behavior that ensued at this event," Pallone said.
No injuries were reported.
"I would like to thank all of our local law enforcement agencies and our state partners for their response to today's incident," Linskey said. "Responding agencies worked in unison to create a swift, professional, and tactical response to what was evolving as a dangerous situation. We appreciate the efforts of Long Branch City Officials issuing tonight's curfew in response to the public safety situation. Their efforts are to be commended."
One police vehicle was vandalized, but there were no significant injuries or property damage reported. The person suspected of damaging the vehicle was among those arrested.
"It's a free country, right?" Golden said. "People want to come to the Jersey Shore and have a good time, that's one thing. When it starts becoming illegal and we start having disorderly person offenses and assaults and property damage, that's (another) thing."
Mayor Pallone said his office has learned of future pop-up beach parties being planned for the summer.
"We met with local agencies to put an end to these non-permitted 'pop up' parties. Simply put, the crowding and capacity limits of these events lead to violent behavior and are a serious public safety concern for our community," Pallone said in a Facebook post.
Pallone said the Long Branch Police Department tracked down the organizers of the "pop-up" events and plans to "prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law."
Pallone said they are contacting New Jersey Transit to find a way to not allow thousands of people off a train at once. They are also looking into legal action against social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram which allow users to share posts about the events.
"Lastly, we have contacted Governor Murphy's office and have asked for his help. This issue affects the entire Jersey Shore and we need his assistance to stop it," Pallone said.
Last summer, there were several similar situations of large-scale pop-up parties in the same area.