At least one person was arrested Tuesday after leaving Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, New Jersey, which has been in violation of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy's coronavirus shutdown executive order since it reopened Monday, NJ.com reported.
Here's video of the arrest. (Content warning: Language):
BREAKING: One member arrested, 3 others stopped as they left @TheAtilisGym. We're told by the owners the man who w… https://t.co/e5e7jADWaT— Erika Shych (@Erika Shych)1589907009.0
The outlet said the gym patron was arrested after refusing to give his name. Those gathered around at least five cops on hand for the arrest didn't sound very pleased with the officers.
"That's bulls**t! And you're disobeying the oath!" one person yelled while another hollered, "This ain't China!"
"This is not right! Let him go!" another gym supporter shouted as several others yelled for police to "release him!"
Here's the arrest from a different angle. (Content warning: Language):
LANGUAGE WARNING: at least one person arrested when he exited Atitlis Gym in Bellmawr. The charges are unknown at t… https://t.co/GhL17sHRWP— Howard Monroe (@Howard Monroe)1589906107.0
Police warned supporters gathered outside to leave or they could face summonses, NJ.com reported.
"This gathering is a violation of the governor's order," Bellmawr Lt. Mike Draham said, according to the outlet. "You are directed to immediately and peaceably disperse. If you do not disperse you can be charged. You can protest from your vehicle…That's all we have right now."
The crowd jeered police as Draham read a statement to gym owners Ian Smith and Frank Trumbetti in front of the gym's door shortly after 10 a.m., NJ.com said, and for the second day in a row the pair were charged for violating Murphy's stay-at-home order.
Indeed Murphy on Monday issued a warning to the gym and all those who enter it, KYW-TV said: "If you show up at that gym again tomorrow, there's going to be a different reality than showing today. ... These just aren't words, we've got to enforce this, but I also don't want to start World War III."
What a difference a day makes
Tuesday's tone was a far cry from the day before when a police officer told the crowd and the owners, "Formally, you are all in violation of the executive order." Then came the officer's surprising follow-up statement: "On that note, have a good day. Everybody be safe."
As police turned and walked away, the crowd immediately erupted in cheers:
Bellmawr FOR Everybody #SmallBusinessIsEssential https://t.co/PNoMAWgVdo— Atilis Gym Bellmawr (@Atilis Gym Bellmawr)1589815421.0
Nevertheless, Bellmawr police later Monday did issue disorderly persons citations to the gym's owners for violating the governor's executive order, KYW-TV said, adding that a disorderly persons charge carries a fine of up to $1,000 or up to six months in jail.
Image source: KYW-TV video screenshot
But if fines are all the owners are handed, the financial burden may be eased a bit as a GoFundMe page for the owners' legal expenses has generated over $24,000 in less than 24 hours.
What's the background?
The gym made big headlines when it opened Monday morning before the governor allowed it. Outside the gym a crowd of several hundred — which began forming hours before the doors opened at 8 a.m. — carried American and Trump 2020 flags and chanted "USA! USA! USA!" and "Let's get back to work!"
More than 200 people have gathered outside Atilis Gym in Bellmawr, NJ in support of the owner’s decision to defy th… https://t.co/dna09Ua0Al— Ellie Rushing (@Ellie Rushing)1589803017.0
Still Trumbetti told KYW Tuesday morning he's concerned about consequences that may be awaiting him.
"People keep asking me, am I afraid. Absolutely," he told the station. "But I'm more afraid that my kids aren't going to have rights ... somebody's gotta stand up to it."
Image source: KYW-TV video screenshot
And while Trumbetti encouraged members to come back to the gym Tuesday, he said there may be repercussions.
"Know that if you walk into Atilis Gym to get your workout in and feel like a normal human being, you're probably gonna be potentially arrested," he told KYW.