A skateboarding superstar is among five people Los Angeles prosecutors have charged with organizing parties that were possible superspreader events at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nyjah Huston, a four-time world skateboarding champion, and Edward Essa, the owner of a home in the Fairfax District where authorities say parties have been repeatedly shut down by police since last fall, are among those charged.
After the latest party last month, Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered the L.A. Department of Water and Power to cut off electric service to the home. Huston and Essa are both charged with creating a nuisance, a misdemeanor. Neither could be reached for comment Friday.
Three other people face similar charges in unrelated cases, allegedly involving a secret New Year’s Eve banquet in downtown L.A. and frequent gatherings behind covered windows at another Fairfax hotspot.
Mike Feuer, the city attorney who acts as L.A.’s top prosecutor, said the coronavirus has dramatically changed the lives of Angelenos, but some have refused to change their behavior.
“During this crisis, my office has held those individuals and businesses who have had large indoor gatherings, violating important public health and safety orders, accountable.” he said. Those charged, he said, are “connected to properties where we allege that large indoor parties were held in violation of public health orders.”
It is the latest crackdown on the worst violations of emergency orders that seek to limit the spread of the virus, targeting a party scene driven in part by social media creators who make money by providing entertainment for the maskless mass gatherings.
“During the pandemic, this enforcement is particularly important because party houses can produce superspreader events that jeopardize public health. We’re taking the steps to shut them down,” Feuer added.
Last month, LAPD Capt. Sharon Paulson said officers cleared about 40 people from the Curson Avenue address after receiving a complaint of a gathering at a “social media influencer residence.” Officers had previously shut down events at the home on Sept. 12-13 and Oct. 17 and issued warnings to the residents that large gatherings violated the mayor’s public order, officials said.
Huston has gotten into trouble for house parties before. In September 2019, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of disturbing the peace at a 2017 Los Angeles party. The multiple X Games gold medalist, who has 4.5 million Instagram followers, was originally charged with felony assault. In 2014, he was cited for noise violations after Orange County deputies responding to multiple complaints found 200 to 300 people at his south Orange County home.
Prosecutors allege that Salon Oaxaca in downtown Los Angeles was the site of a New Year’s Eve party with about 150 guests, and that dozens have gathered for underground parties at the Hidden River near the intersection of La Brea Avenue and Beverly Boulevard.
Last August, Feuer filed charges against TikTok stars Bryce Hall and Blake Gray and the owners of mega mansions they rented for massive parties.