Palmview party is cautionary tale as Labor Day Weekend approaches

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Don’t throw a party in the middle of a pandemic.

For months, county judges and mayors across the Rio Grande Valley have asked residents not to hold family get-togethers that could spread the coronavirus.

With Labor Day Weekend fast approaching, they’re repeating that warning.

A party that took place in Palmview during July is an example of what they're trying to prevent.

In July — when Hidalgo County reported more than 600 coronavirus-related deaths — a Palmview family held a birthday party.

“A big party was not our intention,” said Marilu Gonzalez, who held a party for her son, Juan Gonzalez. “I really don’t know where all those people came from.”

Word about the party spread quickly. People crowded their yard and street.

“I didn’t know what to do,” Marilu Gonzalez said. “I told my son: ‘Tell them something, ask them to leave.’ And then another man got here and they started to fight outside.”

Body camera video recorded by police officers shows more than a dozen people not wearing masks.

The video also shows a Palmview police officer confronting a man about holding a party in the middle of the pandemic.

“What did we tell you?” the officer said. “We said we can't have more than 10 people” because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Faced with an unruly crowd, the Palmview Police Department was forced to call the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office and the Peñitas Police Department for backup.

“Imagine having all these uninvited people in your home,” Marilu Gonzalez said. “That's what happened to us.”

Two people were arrested.

“Perhaps there was no intention of the gathering getting larger than it did,” said Palmview police Lt. Arnold Sepulveda. “But, unfortunately, in this instance, it did.”

Watch the video for the full story.


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