Woman defends decision to have large party that was caught on police bodycam during pandemic

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Body camera video shot by Cleveland police shows a large party broken up during the state’s stay-at-home order. 

The video shows police approaching an apartment with loud noise inside the Tower City complex.

“There’s gonna be a large amount of people inside. I don’t know how you want to play it,” said one of the officers.

It happened last month despite the governor’s order limiting groups to no more than 10 people. A ticket showed 33 people were there.

Lakrishia Crenshaw, who hosted the party, denies that: “No, there were 15 of us.”

Crenshaw claims police exaggerated the number of people there, and she argued that most of the people were relatives.

Warnings about social distancing have become the norm in the effort to slow the spread of  COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has urged people to “stay out of crowded places and avoid mass gatherings.”

“I understand the whole quarantine thing, but it was 15. My baby just turned 20. It was her birthday and she graduated. Just wanted to do something nice for her,” she said.

Nonetheless, the police video shows a line of people walking from the party, and at one point, an officer says, “Probably about 20-25 people left, so far.”

Whatever the reason for the party, Lakrishia Crenshaw now has to explain it to a judge.

“What happened to a warning?” she added. “I know I wasn’t being disrespectful. I did shut it down.”

Cleveland police have cited several people for hosting large parties and others for having stores open against health orders.

Police policy says officers should let a prosecutor make the final call on charges. A case like this carries a fine of up to $750 and possibly jail time.

“I’m a single mother out of work six months. How am I supposed to pay for this ticket?” Crenshaw said.

Last week, investigators also went to four restaurants in Cleveland for allowing too many people too close together. No criminal charges have been filed in those cases.

Those businesses have only gotten complaint letters from the health department outlining how their crowds should have been handled. 

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