Feds Indict Man Claiming to Have COVID-19 Who Spat, Coughed on Police Officers
He claimed to have the coronavirus, laughed, and announced that he was spreading the virus around, the U.S. attorney says.
TAMPA – A St. Petersburg man was indicted by a federal grand jury after he was accused of spitting and coughing on police officers while claiming to have the COVID-19 coronavirus, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.
James Jamal Curry, 31, of St. Petersburg, was charged with perpetrating a biological weapon hoax. If convicted, Curry faces up to five years in federal prison. Curry had been initially charged by criminal complaint on April 7.
According to court documents, on March 27, officers from the St. Petersburg Police Department responded to a domestic violence call involving Curry. During Curry’s arrest, he turned to an officer, declared that he was infected with the coronavirus, and coughed on the officer’s arm. The next day, Curry bonded out of the Pinellas County Jail.
On the evening of March 28, police were again called to the same residence where they had previously encountered Curry and arrested him a second time.
During his arrest, Curry spat on an arresting officer multiple times—hitting the officer in the face, nose, and inside her mouth with blood-filled saliva. Curry again claimed to have the coronavirus, laughed, and announced that he was spreading the virus around.
Law enforcement subsequently obtained and executed a search warrant to test Curry for COVID-19. Curry tested negative. Individuals close to Curry and jail personnel reported that Curry had not shown any symptoms of COVID-19.
A indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
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