A Maryland man was sentenced to a year in jail for throwing parties at his home that violated the governor's coronavirus restrictions on gatherings.
Shawn Marshall Myers, 42, was arrested in March after having two parties at his home in Hughesville in southern Maryland that each had at least 50 people in attendance. At the time, Gov. Larry Hogan’s emergency order prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people.
Officers were initially called to the home on March 22 for a report of a large gathering, said the state's attorney for Charles County, Tony Covington, in a press release.
"Large gatherings were strictly prohibited under the orders. Myers had approximately fifty people in attendance at his residence," Covington said. "Upon arrival, officers told Myers that his party violated the current mandate. Myers was argumentative with officers but eventually agreed to disband his party."
Less than a week later, police were called back to the home for another party that had over 50 guests, the release said. Myers was asked to shut down the party, but he was argumentative and refused, according to the state's attorney.
"Officers tried to reason with Myers and obtain his cooperation to no avail. Myers was then apprehended," the press release states.
A judge convicted Myers on Friday after a bench trial of two counts of failure to comply with an emergency order. In addition to serving a year in jail, he was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and will be on unsupervised probation for three years after his release.
Covington told NBC Washington that Myers' failure to cooperate despite a warning from police could have put people at risk.
“These decisions were made for the public good, for people’s safety,” he said. “We’ve got 200,000 people dead because of the attitudes that Mr. Myers demonstrated that particular day.”
“It’s not like the police just swooped in there and said you’re going to jail. They gave him a warning. He had at least 50 people the first day and then two, three days later, he’s doing the same thing," he added.
The governor's emergency order currently allows gatherings of up to 50 people.