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Middletown – On June 28, 2020 at approximately 8:56pm, the Middletown Twp. Police Department responded to ideal Beach in the northern section of the township for a report of fireworks.  Upon the arrival of Officers Macdonald and Van Schaack, officers observed a subject lighting off large scale fireworks, which were launching over 100 feet into the air.  Officers then arrested Michael Joseph-Dixon, 23, of Elizabeth for unlawful possession of fireworks. During the arrest of Joseph-Dixon, officers located additional fireworks and marijuana.  

While taking Joseph-Dixon into custody, the officers were approached by Destiny Garner, 18, of Elizabeth.  Garner interfered with the officers during the course of the arrest of Joseph-Dixon and grabbed one of the officers by the arm.  As a result of her obstruction, the officers advised her she was under arrest, at which time, she fled from the area.  Garner was then apprehended a short time later. 

Joseph-Dixon was charged with unlawful possession of fireworks, possession of marijuana in an amount of 50 grams or less, and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Garner was charged with obstruction, resisting arrest, underage consumption of alcoholic beverages, and disorderly conduct.  Both subjects were processed and released on summons complaints.

The Middletown Police are reminding the public of important information regarding this Fourth of July holiday.  Some fireworks are now legal in New Jersey, however they are limited to ground-based sparkling devices and novelties such as sparklers, smoke balls, non- fountains and other sparkler devices, poppers, snakes and snaps or pop-its.  Other commonly-known fireworks such as bottle rockets, firecrackers, roman candles, and mortar tubes are still prohibited devices, except as part of a permitted public fireworks display.  According to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, a 2018 study on fireworks conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that 67% of all fireworks injuries were sustained during the 30-day period surrounding the Independence Day Holiday.  5,600 injuries occurred nationwide due to fireworks, most often with burns to the hands and head, including the eyes, face, and ears.  36% of the injuries reported occurred to children under the age of 15 and there were five reported deaths.

Furthermore, the public beach areas in Middletown are seeing a large increase in visitors this season.  Visitors to our beaches and parks are reminded that the park hours are from 7:00a.m. to 10:00p.m.  Bonfires are not permitted.  Also, visitors are reminded to remove their garbage upon leaving the beach so that it can be kept clean as possible for all visitors to enjoy.  Middletown Police are increasing their patrols of the beaches and parks in order to ensure the safety and cleanliness of the beaches.

Any persons arrested or charged with offenses are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.  Additionally, except in specific circumstances, arrest and complaint information and names of those charged may be released.

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