11 city-wide complaints about mass gatherings, 10 near OSU’s campus

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — There have been 11 complaints city-wide sent to the Columbus Police Department about people not obeying the mass gathering order from Governor DeWine.

The Columbus Division of Police is now working with The Ohio State University to see if any off-campus students are violating any part of Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home and social distancing orders. 

Neighbors in the area said they were frustrated with what they saw. 

“Completely irresponsible, dangerous, stupid,” Corey Washer said. “They shout stuff like ‘If we’re going to die, we’re going to die young,’ like crazy nihilistic stupidity.” 

The streets are empty now, but beer cans and cups still remain around front yards.

Washer took a picture of the party he said happened Saturday. The picture showed several people in the front yard. He said he witnessed more than 30 people crowded at one home.

“They were also coming out the side of the house, I mean using the restroom on the side of the house just having zero disregard for their neighbors,” Washer said.

He said many neighbors called for help but didn’t get anywhere. 

“Everybody kept saying it’s not their job, Washer said. “We called the police. They said call the health department. We called the health department, they said fill it out on the website. The website wasn’t even working for a while. We called. We tried everybody. Nobody cared.” 

CPD said their officers handle enforcement of the stay-at-home order for people and homes. 

“We want to encourage using 311, but we also understand that in the moment this is a real time situation,” Sergeant James Fuqua said. “We’re totally okay with you calling the non-emergency number.”

Fuqua said 10 out of the 11 complaints of mass gatherings in Columbus happened in the off-campus area of OSU.

He said officers can take three steps: 

-First is to advise and educate 

-Second is to give a verbal or written warning 

-Third is to give a citation

“If you’re violating this order, it is a misdemeanor of the second degree in the state of Ohio, which means you can be fined up to $750 and up to 90 days in jail,” Sgt. Fuqua said.

He added OSU has the ability to penalize students who are enrolled making the punishment harsher for those violators. 

If you want to make a complaint of someone not following the order, call 311 or 614-645-4545 

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