Police said two men involved in a large disturbance in Dubuque recently were arrested for violating Iowa’s COVID-19-related restrictions on gatherings.

Alan D. Ellison, 26, and Devonn T. Phillips, 23, neither of whom have a permanent address, were arrested at Dubuque Law Enforcement Center for allegedly violating Iowa Department of Public Health orders.

Court documents state that both men were among 11 people involved in a large disturbance on April 18 in a backyard on Ellis Street.

Both were arrested immediately following the disturbance – Ellison on a charge of interference with official acts, as well as outstanding warrants, and Phillips on a charge of voluntary absence of custody and outstanding warrants.

Ellison and Phillips both said their reason for being at the Ellis Street residence was to visit with the occupants. That violates the proclamation of disaster emergency issued by Gov. Kim Reynolds on April 16 for the northeast region of Iowa, according to documents. The proclamation prohibits social gatherings of any size other than those involving members of the same household.

Ellison and Phillips are the first people in Dubuque to be charged with violations related to the proclamation, according to Lt. Ted McClimon, of the Dubuque Police Department.

He wrote in an email to the Telegraph Herald that the investigation continues and that additional people could be charged.

Dubuque County Sheriff Joe Kennedy said his deputies have not cited nor arrested anyone for violating the gathering restrictions. Deputies have responded to fewer than five complaints of people congregating and all individuals involved agreed to disperse, he said.

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