Oregon officer in isolation after suspect with coronavirus allegedly spit and coughed on them

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An Oregon officer was put in isolation after a suspect with coronavirus spit and coughed on them during a Sunday incident.

The Tigard Police Department alleges the suspect, identified as Miguel Hernandez-Cuesta, 24, intended to infect the officer with COVID-19, according to a release

Police said they encountered Hernandez-Cuesta at a McDonald’s after receiving a call about an apparently intoxicated man asleep in the drive-thru. The driver had moved out of the drive-thru when police showed up and was asleep in the driver’s seat while “partially hanging out of the driver’s side door” which was open, according to the release. 

Officers reported smelling alcohol coming from the still running car. Police instructed the man to turn off the car before “he put it in drive and rolled forward, nearly hitting a patrol car parked in front of him.” 

The officers then arrested Hernandez-Cuesta for allegedly driving under the influence and driving while suspended. 

“In the course of the arrest, while Tigard Police officers were searching the man for weapons or dangerous items, he began coughing profusely and stated he had COVID-19,” the release stated. 

“An officer asked him to stop coughing on them, but he turned his face toward the officers and proceeded to cough and spit on one of their faces while standing less than a foot away,” it added. 

Jail staff confirmed Hernandez-Cuesta tested positive for COVID-19, prompting police to also charge him with felony aggravated harassment. 

The officer, who was spit and coughed on, was wearing a surgical mask and gloves and will remain in quarantine to monitor for any COVID-19 symptoms. 

“Based on his actions, it is our belief he acted knowingly in trying to expose the officer to COVID-19,” the release stated. 

“Officers who are victims during the course and scope of their duties have the same rights as any other community members, and we intend to assist the Washington County District Attorney’s office with any future prosecution for this intentional and unwarranted exposure beyond our routine day-to-day duties,” the release added. 

NBC News reported that inmate records indicate Hernandez-Cuesta was released from Washington County Jail later on Sunday.

Tags aggravated harassment Coronavirus Coughing COVID-19 Driving under the influence Law enforcement Oregon Pandemic Police spit Tigard
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