Atlantic City is a summer resort town. Many of our residents and business owners need to earn a year of income during a ten week summer tourist season, mostly on weekends. The most popular and profitable weekends are usually weekends connected to the Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day holidays.
Last year, Atlantic City “activist” Steve Young twice threatened to cause riots or block traffic during two of Atlantic City’s busiest weekends. His threats were blatant extortion. He directly threatened to cause business owners to lose money and their employees to lose their jobs if his “demands” were not met. Last year, Atlantic City’s Mayor Small tried to work with Steve Young. He set up a meeting at the mayor’s office in City Hall for Steven Young to meet directly with the City’s top casino and business leaders. However, Steve Young refused to have the meeting if Mayor Small were present!
On May 31, last year, Steve Young called for a crowd to assemble on the Boardwalk near a shopping district called “The Walk”. Then he invited the crowd to go “window shopping” at “The Walk”. Soon after the crowd arrived there, they began breaking windows and looting stores, There was enormous damage and financial loss. Many stores were boarded up and closed for most of the summer. Some of the busiest areas of the City were deserted. The Atlantic City Police Department did heroic detective work. They patiently looked at videos of the rioting, vandalism and looting. The systematically interviewed residents. Two months later, they arrested and charged 95 rioters. However, Steve Young was not one of them. Now, more than a year later, it appears that none of those rioters were brought to trial. It appears that none were punished in any way.
On July 4, last year, Steve Young and six others were arrested for defying police and blocking two of the three main entrances to Atlantic City–the Albany Avenue (Route 322) Bridge and the Atlantic City Expressway. However, more than a year has gone by. As with the May 31 “window shopping” riots, there have been no published reports of any dispositions of these arrests? Were their trials? Were their guilty pleas? Was their any punishment or consequences to anyone who broke the law?
The thorough investigations, big fines, and long jail terms for those charged with merely “trespassing” at the Capitol last January 6 shows that police and prosecutors can severely punish protesters who break the law. What happened in these Atlantic City cases?
If there were prosecutions, trials, guilty pleas and punishments wouldn’t they be made public by now? If if Steve Young were punished for what he did twice last year, would he be back doing the same thing this year?
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Seth Grossman, Executive Director