I-TEAM: Woman defends decision to have large party during coronavirus pandemic

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-TEAM has uncovered video showing the story behind yet another large party broken up by police during the state’s stay-at-home order. 

And, for the first time, we’re hearing from someone hit with a criminal charge for that. 

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, so we tracked down the owner.

“No, there were 15 of us,” said Lakrishia Crenshaw.

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

Still, what about the months of headlines concerning social distancing and trying to slow the spread of  COVID-19?

*Read more stories on the coronavirus pandemic, here.*

“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 out 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.”

The I-TEAM has reported on a series of cases like this. Cleveland police citing people for large parties, even 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 dollars and possibly a little jail time.

“I’m a single mother out of work 6 months. How am I supposed to pay for this ticket?” she said.

Meantime, last week investigators went to four restaurants in Cleveland for allowing too many people too close together. No criminal charges have been filed for that, however.

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

*See more investigative stories from the I-TEAM, here.*

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