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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 8, 2020

St. Petersburg Man Who Threatened To Spread Covid-19 Virus By Spitting And Coughing On Police Officers Charged With Biological Weapons Hoax

Tampa, Florida– United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the filing of a criminal complaint charging James Jamal Curry (31, St. Petersburg) with perpetrating a biological weapons hoax. If convicted, Curry faces up to five years in federal prison.  

According to the complaint, 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 next 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 encountered Curry and arrested him a second time. During his arrest, Curry spit on an arresting officer multiple times—hitting the officer’s 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 officers 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 criminal complaint is merely a 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 (Sixth Judicial Circuit), and the Pinellas County Jail. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Murray.

Topic(s): 
Coronavirus
Component(s): 
Updated April 8, 2020