5 cited after Miami student party hosted by resident positive for coronavirus

Five residents of a house in the 100 block of East Walnut Street in Oxford were given civil citations under the city’s ordinance banning mass gatherings of more than 10 people who did not reside at the address, according to a police report.

An officer on patrol at 4:04 p.m. Sept. 5 saw a group of people in front of the house with music playing from a speaker on the porch and plainly audible 25 feet from the property line.

The report said there were seven people on the porch or front yard and one of them was identified as a resident. He said eight people live in the house and that 10 people had stopped by and were leaving. He estimated there were about 20 people in the house and was told to have all non-residents leave.

The officer did not enter the house due to COVID-19 concerns.

The resident was entered into the LEADS backgrounding system and it revealed a Homeland Security alert that said he had tested positive for the virus Aug. 31. He acknowledged he had tested positive a week earlier and was supposed to be in quarantine. He was asked how he was supposed to be in quarantine and having guests over. He said those people were just passing by.

The resident said everyone in the house had COVID-19, as did two people across the street. After confirming with a supervisor, the officer was to issue civil citations to members of the household and those participating for violations of the Mass Gatherings Ordinance.

Another person was sitting on the porch and was told he could leave, but he told the officer he did not live there but was staying at the house.

That person told the officer he attends Miami University and had a positive COVID-19 test two weeks earlier. He said he had moved back home with his parents but they let him visit for the weekend. His local residence is on East Vine Street.

Later that day, one of those cited went to the police station and told the officer he wanted to press charges of trespass against all the non-residents who had been at the house. He was told he alone cannot file charges of trespass and it also lacks probable cause. He said his quarantine had ended Sept. 4 and he did not participate in in any mass gathering. His written statement was added to the report and he was told to file an appeal to the citation to dispute it.

The officer then received and e-mail from another of those cited saying he had not participated in the gathering and wanted to file trespass charges. He said he was sick in bed at the time and did not respond to the porch until requested by the officer. His statement was also attached to the report.

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