ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - A St. Petersburg man who was being arrested on Saturday for allegedly violating a no contact order with his girlfriend claimed to have coronavirus and spit onto an officer's face, according to police.
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"I'm very upset about this," said Chief Tony Holloway. "These men and women are out there each and every day protecting us."
Over the weekend, James Curry, 31, was arrested twice, on a total of eight charges. Those charges include felony domestic battery, resisting an officer with violence, threat to a law enforcement officer and violation of isolation or quarantine.
Police first arrested Curry on Friday night for alleged false imprisonment and domestic battery of his girlfriend. A judge issued Curry a no-contact order before he was released from the Pinellas Jail the next day on a $6,000 bond.
Less than six hours later, police say the girlfriend called 911 stating that Curry was sitting outside of her front door. Police said they found him outside her apartment on 41st Ave. N. when they arrived at 11:50 p.m.
Curry was very uncooperative, had to be pepper-sprayed and it took three officers to force him into the back of a cruiser, according to the report. Police said Curry then began trying to kick out the rear window of the cruiser.
A sergeant attempted to pull his legs and that's when Curry spit on her face and stated that he did it intentionally because he has the coronavirus, according to the arrest affidavit. Police said Curry also threatened to kill the officer.
Holloway said his agency will not tolerate suspects trying to use coronavirus to intimidate officers.
"Now for a person to come up and just say 'hey'... now you have the virus too.' That's very disturbing," he said. "I just want to make sure people are aware of it... we're going to take you to jail."
Chief Holloway said they've dealt with something similar in the past with people claiming they were infected with HIV.
"Our main concern, one, is the officer's safety," he said. "We'll have the guy tested... if it comes back positive, you'll get an additional charge placed on you."
St. Petersburg Police said they later learned that Curry had not tested positive for the coronavirus.