St. Petersburg Man Indicted For Threatening To Spread COVID-19 By Spitting And Coughing On Police Officers
Tampa, Florida– United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the return of an indictment charging James Jamal Curry (31, St. Petersburg) with perpetrating a biological weapon hoax. If convicted, Curry faces up to 5 years in federal prison. Curry had been initially charged by criminal complaint on April 7, 2020.
According to court documents, on March 27, 2020, 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 following day, Curry bonded out of the Pinellas County Jail.
On the evening of March 28, 2020, police were again called to the same residence where they had previously encountered Curry and arrested him a second time. During his arrest, Curry spit 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.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the St. Petersburg Police Department, the Florida Department of Health, the State Attorney’s Office for the Sixth Judicial Circuit, and the Pinellas County Jail. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Murray.