St. Pete man claimed he had COVID-19 before coughing, spitting on officers, authorities say

Booking image for James Jamal Curry (State Attorney’s Office (Sixth Judicial Circuit))

A St. Petersburg is accused of "prepretrating a biological weapons hoax" after threatening to spread coronavirus by spitting and coughing on police officers, according to the United States Attorney's Office.

Authorites said they arrested 31-year-old James Jamal Curry. On March 27, St. Pete police officers responded to a domestic violence call involving the suspect. During his arrest, police said he turned to an officer, said he was infected with the coronavirus, and coughed on the officer's arms.

Curry bonded out on the following day. On the evening of March 28, police responded to the same home as the previous day and encountered Curry. He was arrested again, but officials did not specify the new charges. 

During the second arrest, officials said Curry spit on an arresting officer multiple times, striking the officer's face, nose and inside her mouth with "blood-filled saliva," authorities said.

Officials said he claimed, again, to have the coronavirus. They said he laughed and announced he was "spreading the virus around."

Law enforcement officials obtained a search warrant to test Curry for COVID-19. He tested negative. 

If convicted, Curry could face up to five years in federal prison.