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‘I’m a knucklehead’ – NJ man issued summons for reading book on the beach

A New Jersey college student was issued a summons for reading a book on the beach - in a violation of social distancing orders.

News 12 Staff

May 6, 2020, 11:14 PM

Updated 1,442 days ago

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Almost every day since the coronavirus crisis began, state officials have released information about people who have been charged with violating Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive orders on social distancing.
The governor has taken some flak for referring to these violators as “knuckleheads,” but he has stood by that term.
“The definition is a stupid, bumbling, inept person,” Murphy said at one of his press briefings.
Some people highlighted by officials include people who have allegedly spit on police officers, claiming to have the virus or those who have held large gatherings in violation of the order. Those violators may deserve to be called something worse than “knuckleheads.”
But not all “knuckleheads” are created equal – Meet Konstantine Apessos Jr., an Ocean County college student who was issued a summons for sitting by himself on the beach reading a book – an alleged violation of the social distancing order.
“I didn’t see any signs that said the beach was closed. But I knew that people weren’t supposed to be, like, gathering in groups and going on the beach,” Apessos says.
Apessos is currently out of work from his job at Zumiez. He says that he headed out for his regular walk at Double Trouble State Park on April 12 only to find out that the park was closed. So, he drove to Seaside Park – a town he had never been to before – walked down a path, crossed a barricade by the boardwalk and opened up his copy of “Understanding Human Nature” by renowned psychologist Alfred Adler.
“I was reading the book and the officer said, ‘Hey, you gotta get out of here.’ So, I got up,” Apessos says.
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Apessos was issued a summons for violating the governor’s order and charged with defiant trespass.
“People are doing what they gotta do. I’m not mad at anybody,” he says.
But Apessos says that he is worried about the charge going on his record.
“I'm a knucklehead yeah. I mean it ended me up here. I should have paid more attention. I should have known that just because something shouldn't happen, that doesn't mean it won't,” he says.
Apessos’s charges both carry a fine of up to $1,000 and a possible jail sentence of six months. Apessos has a court date in Seaside Park set for June.


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