John Maldjian claims front-yard Pink Floyd concert was a misunderstanding.
The New Jersey Attorney General identified the Rumson man who police say hosted a gathering of about 30 people Saturday evening at his Blackpoint Road home, to listen to a live performance of Pink Floyd hits — at the height of the coronavirus epidemic, and when healthy adults are being urged to social distance and avoid large gatherings.
John Maldjian, 54, of Rumson, was charged Sunday by Rumson police with reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and two separate charges related to violating Gov. Murphy’s emergency orders not to have social gatherings. All the charges are disorderly persons offenses. He has also been charged with violating two Rumson borough ordinances.
Maldjian is not charged with cursing at police. Maldjian hired a lawyer, Mitchell Ansell, who released this statement in his client’s defense: Rumson Man Who Gave Concert Wanted Guests To Stay Home: Lawyer
A second man at the party, Ryan Sheftel, 46 of Rumson, was also charged with disorderly conduct and violating a borough ordinance of disturbing the peace after he allegedly cursed at the police and shouted “Welcome to Nazi Germany.”
As Patch initially reported, Rumson police say that at approximately 8:19 p.m. Saturday evening, April 3, they were called to Maldjian’s home for a report of a large party with a band. Police say when they arrived, they discovered the homeowner, Maldjian, together with another man, playing acoustic guitars on the front porch of the home.
There were approximately 30 people, between the ages of 40 and 50, gathered on Maldjian’s front lawn and the adjoining street watching the performance, said police. Some had lawn chairs and alcoholic beverages.
The concert, with two guitarists with microphones and amplifiers, also was being broadcast live on Facebook, police said.
“Despite the fact that police were on scene with flashing lights attempting to disperse the crowd, the band continued playing,” said the AG’s office in a statement. “It was not until a Rumson officer directly approached Maldjian that he stopped singing and playing. Maldjian then told his Facebook Live audience (he was streaming his performance) that he had to stop playing.”
“As the old saying goes, in the midst of all this chaos, the band still played on, that is until they were advised in the middle of the 1975 classic ‘Wish You Were Here’ that they must stop the show,” said Rumson police in a Facebook post about the incident.
The crowd became unruly when told to disperse and some shouted curses at the police and “Welcome to Nazi Germany,” alleged the Attorney General.
“We were met with well wishes of ‘F— the police’ and ‘Welcome to Nazi Germany’ from this group of ’40- to 50-year-old adults,’ ” Rumson police said in the post.
Police warned that any future incidents in Rumson would receive a zero-tolerance approach “and everyone involved will be charged with disorderly conduct.”
After the arrest, the head of the New Jersey State Police had some harsh words for the Rumson partygoers:
“I have said that law enforcement will act swiftly against those who blatantly place the lives of others at risk,” said Colonel Patrick Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police.
“Well, you don’t get much more blatant than the party crowd in Rumson that resisted and insulted police officers who asked them to disperse.”