Police say man spat on child in restaurant and said ‘you now have coronavirus’
A Florida man is facing charges after police said he allegedly spat on a child wearing a mask in a restaurant over the weekend and told him afterward, “You now have coronavirus.”
According to a local Fox affiliate, Jason Copenhaver, 47, has been arrested and faces battery and disorderly conduct charges over the Sunday incident.
The misdemeanor charges come after he was apprehended at a restaurant called Ricky T’s in Treasure Island for allegedly spitting on a kid.
The man, who police said was believed to be intoxicated at the time, had initially told the kid at the restaurant to take off his mask. Police said he had also asked him to shake his hand.
The boy reportedly refused. In response, police said Copenhaver allegedly grabbed him, got in his face and then spit on him. Moments after, the man also allegedly told the boy, “You now have coronavirus.”
Police said the man, who was also said to be wearing no shoes then, was apprehended by a worker shortly after allegedly trying to assault them.
He was taken into police custody not long after the incident, according to the local station.
Copenhaver said he has not been tested for the coronavirus and doesn’t know if he has the virus, according to Fox 13.
While Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has not joined other governors in issuing a state-wide mandate requiring residents to wear masks in public, a number of counties and municipalities in the state have done so to curb the spread of the pandemic.
Pinellas County, where Treasure Island is located, requires residents to wear face covering in most indoor places.
Florida emerged as a coronavirus hot spot in recent weeks though has started to trend down in the number of cases. State health data shows the state has counted more than half a million cases of COVID-19 and more than 7,600 deaths.