The mother of a 26-year-old man who threw a crowded house party at their home in Chicago says she’s “astounded” by her son’s actions — and that she was out working her job as a first responder when it happened.
The woman, who asked to remain anonymous because of her occupation, told NBC news station WMAQ that she had no clue her son had thrown the party Friday night, and only realized what happened when police arrived three days later to issue her a citation.
“I was astounded when I saw the video,” she told the outlet, referring to a viral video that showed people at the party drinking and dancing while standing shoulder-to-shoulder.
The woman said she returned from a 24-hour shift to a clean house with nothing out of place.
“After that, some police came to my house and said, ‘Were you aware that it was a party at your house?’” she told WMAQ. “And I was like, ‘No, I wasn’t aware.’ And then they showed me the video.”
She said she was angry with her son, as she’s been taking social distancing seriously because of risks associated with her job, and therefore hasn’t been able to see her family in two months.
“Because of my job, I don’t want to expose them to anything,” she said. “So if I’m social distancing, then I most definitely don’t condone this type of behavior.”
The son, Janeal Wright, told WMAQ that he invited about 20-30 people to the house to celebrate the lives of two friends who’d recently died due to gun violence, and took care to deactivate the house’s video doorbell so that his mom would not be alerted to any visitors.
That number, however, soon grew to nearly 200, and video shows the party-goers in close quarters, with very few wearing face masks.
“With us being young, us being millennials, like the mayor said, we didn’t really know how severe this was,” Wright told the outlet. “It really hasn’t been hitting home for us like that, but I now I see the error of everything.”
Wright’s comments refer to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who called the party “foolish and reckless” in a press briefing on Monday.
“It goes against all the things that we’ve been talking about, all the things that the vast majority of Chicagoans understand and know and they put themselves at risk,” she said. “But not only that, every single person there who put themselves at risk puts the next person and the next person that they come into contact with at risk. That’s why, for me, that scene is so distressing.”
Lightfoot also shut down any sympathies for millennial ignorance, calling the generation “fully functioning adults” who are expected to be responsible, especially during a pandemic.
Chicago police have reportedly alerted the Chicago Department of Public Health, which will follow up with attendees to ensure all possibly risks from the party are monitored.
Illinois has been under a stay-at-home order since March 21, meaning residents can only leave their homes for essential purposes.
As of Thursday afternoon, there have been at least 50,355 cases and 2,221 deaths attributed to coronavirus in Illinois, according to The New York Times. The U.S., meanwhile, has seen more than 1 million cases and nearly 61,000 deaths.
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