GR Police Shut Down Block Party

The annual Midland Avenue block party was brought to a halt by Glen Ridge police on Saturday night, with “no reason given” by the police, according to Glen Ridge resident J. Allen Suddeth, who emailed Baristanet while officers were breaking up the party.

Suddeth and other partygoers couldn’t understand why the “family friendly event” that has been an annual tradition in the neighborhood for over 20 years was forcibly brought to a halt around starting around 8:00 p.m., complete with police cars, search lights and armed officers.

“Tons of kids were still playing in the street — from [ages] five to 15 — laughing and eating ice cream,” said Suddeth. “A quiet rock band was playing, as per usual every year, folks were talking. I was squiring my handicapped mother-in-law there to take it all in, and neighbors were talking. A fine, Pollyanna scene.”

The Glen Ridge Police were contacted, but would not comment on the incident.

The police interruption of the block-long party left “many angry parents… and a real bummer for the party and the kids,” said Suddeth. “There were no fights to break up, no drama at all and no reason to shut us down.”

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16 COMMENTS

  1. And yet life at South Park goes on.

    But one caveat: I honestly don’t think there’s any such thing as a “quiet rock band.” Not if the band is really doing its job there isn’t.

  2. This is strange. Something is missing from the story…..a reason?
    Needs a little more in depth reporting.

  3. Many towns will assist with scheduled block parties by delivering saw horses, road closures, posting “no parking” signs the evening before, etc.

    Perhaps the proper permits weren’t obtained this time? Most towns don’t take well to impromptu street closures and noise violations.

    There’s probably more to this story than has been released so far.

  4. Don’t want to jump to conclusions here, BUT – It would be a plain dumb move to plan a block party and not check with the town first. More info is needed here.

  5. While I would not want by any means to live in a world without law enforcement, this incident clearly illustrates why it is so important to thoroughly screen candidates for Police employment and – where possible – to require that Police Officers be residents of the municipality (or other jurisdiction) by which they are employed.

    In the absence of any information on the reasons for the “raid” (let’s do use that word here, for that it what it was) being shared by Glen Ridge’s Police Department, is it unreasonable to suppose that the action was undertaken for no reason other or more than a display of police power, betokening a “we did it because we can” mentality?

    Do not the residents of Glen Ridge feel they deserve more in terms of Police professionalism, respect and service?

  6. That’s too bad. We were with some folks who were going to the party and when we passed by around 5:30 it was not loud and looked about as all american as you can get.

    If it was a permit issue I don’t think the police would roll in like that. For noise complaints the police usually give a warning first, but I don’t think they take noise complaints until at least 10 or 11pm. Whatever the reason, they would likely have said so if they could. Most officers don’t want to deal with breaking up a party in the first place and then they want to have something to tell people when they get angry.

    Maybe someone with influence lives nearby and was annoyed by the party and made a phone call. Do any local politicians or town offcials live in the area?

  7. Wait !! Police with police cars? Police with lights as the sun sets? Police with guns?

    I would call the Attorney General and see if they can investigate this. It seems odd that police should have cars, lights and guns.

  8. Carl B…..Any way thru your connections, you could find out why this happened in our little town?? Is there nobody out there who knows the reason?

  9. I just read my Glen Ridge Paper which had the Police Chief’s version of the events, and as a resident of the block it seems time to clarify. At 8:30 we were told to get everyhing off the street, including the jazz group we had hired for the evening, grills,all the food tables not to mention small children. We had the required permit, which allowed us to party until 11pm so we were pretty shocked and annoyed at suddenly having to clear the street. For 20 years we have kept the street closed after dark with no incidents. Interestingly to me, in the past the police have always stopped by to say Hi and have a burger. This year they did not, only arriving with flashing lights to shut us down. Something changed and the Police Chief is not owning up to it. If not for the generosity of the Weissenberger family, who allowed the jazz band to set up in their yard and continue their set, the entire party would have ended badly. I don’t know whether we’ll have another block party if it has to end at dusk…could be the end of a long neighborly tradition because of this incident.

  10. Very strange. We have a block party every year on Lenox Terrace in Bloomfield and we are out there till the wee hours! We don’t have a band, but if we had one till a reasonable hour I’m sure it would not be a problem. It’s very sad that the police cracked down on your annual event. Perhaps when you set it up for next year you could clarify what you will be allowed to do and until when, and find out what might have triggered this problem so your party won’t be shut down early again. Maybe they’d be more lenient if it were a less busy street, one of your side streets perhaps? At any rate, I extend my sympathies on behalf of all neighbors who love block parties! They are a wonderful way to inspire neighborly friendships – which results in safer neighborhoods. The police should encourage these get-togethers.

  11. Anthemion,

    I could find nothing about this incident in The Glen Ridge Paper – there was a fairly long article in The Glen Ridge Voice (Yes, folks not from Glen Ridge, we have two competing newspapers, and yes, I subscribe to both).

    PAZ,

    From what I read in the GR Voice article, it sounds like
    an unfortunate (but classic) “breakdown in communications” and I suspect that it will all be resolved before the next block party.

  12. Ah, Glen Ridge’s finest! At it again, I see! Wouldn’t it be nice if this highly-trained team of law enforcement professionals devoted some small portion of their efforts to preventing and combating genuine crime, as opposed to harrassing and intimidating “Ridgers” over trivialities of this sort? Glen Ridge’s finest? What a sad reflection on the community.

    Anyone for a Civilian Police Affairs Review Board in Glen Ridge? Seems as if one is badly needed!

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