Reopening New York: Promoter faces aftermath after hosting weekend music event


OSSINING, New York (WABC) – An event organizer faces the aftermath of a ‘music protest’ held in Westchester County over the weekend that allegedly violated pandemic restrictions. Brian Johnson, founder of, said it had used all appropriate channels to organize a peaceful and socially remote musical protest on Saturday night along the waterfront in its hometown of Ossining.“I went through normal channels. I went to see the secretary. She told me to contact the police, to let them know what’s going on, ”Johnson said. “Of course, they shared their concerns with me about COVID. I told them we were going to have masks, gloves, disinfectant. ”

But the Ossining Police Chief said Johnson was denied a permit for the rally and was told he would violate local ordinances. In addition, enforcement action would be taken if it went ahead.

The police ultimately did not end the event, but added that there would be consequences.

“I see him as a promoter, a company and he was planning to see more than 50 people come to his company,” said Captain Jeff Giorgio of the Ossining Police Department. “And I understand it’s up to a fine of $ 10,000. ”

Johnson showed Eyewitness News videos of other city-approved events earlier this summer. The events had many more people appearing to ignore social distancing protocols.

He wonders why these gatherings were allowed and why he wasn’t – all in the town where he grew up and where many police officers are his friends.

“The cops didn’t arrest anyone because no laws were broken,” Johnson said. “No one has committed a crime or anything. We were within our constitutional right to protest. ”

“He was told he would receive a summons,” Giorgio said. “We’re not going to handcuff someone in the middle of this event. It wouldn’t be safe. ”

Johnson says his event was promoted and advertised as a protest. Police say it may have started that way, but it didn’t end that way.

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