Grocery Store Customer Jumped for Coughing, Spitting on Produce COVID-19

By - April 13, 2020
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Coughing on produce was never viewed kindly, but these days that type of behavior can land you in jail. As the coronavirus continues to spread across the country, people who cough and spit on food are asking for trouble.

Shoppers in a Massachusetts grocery store tackled a man in the produce aisle after he allegedly spat and coughed on assorted fruit and vegetable bins. The police said they did not think he has COVID-19, but they took him to a local hospital to be medically evaluated. (Foxnews.com)

Coughing and Spitting Incident at Stop & Shop

The disgusting incident happened over the weekend at a Stop & Shop in Kingston, Massachusetts, according to a local radio station. Video footage of the incident shows several people holding the man down while he yells to be let go. The suspect is a 65-year-old man from Duxbury, Massachusetts.

The police department in Kingston issued a press release on Facebook, noting that police officers responded to the disturbance on Saturday around noon. (Facebook.com)

The statement notes that the Kingston Police Department intends to file criminal charges which could involve Assault and Battery with Dangerous Weapon; Assault and Battery; and Destruction of Property.

The department added that it does not have access to the accused’s medical records. The board of health in the town was contacted and responded to the grocery store to ensure public health and safety.

Stop & Shop has barred the man from coming back on the property.

A spokesman for the Stop & Shop told the media that the actions of the man were not in accordance with CDC guidelines, which the store has been encouraging all patrons to follow to prevent the spread of COVID-19. He also noted the establishment had thrown away all contaminated produce and is doing a deep cleaning and sanitizing of the department. (Heavy.com)

While the man’s behavior was grossly inappropriate and possibly illegal, experts say there is no evidence that the coronavirus can spread in food. This includes even if someone coughs on food and then another person eats it.

As unappetizing as this sounds, it is unlikely to make you ill. Experts say the transmission of the virus occurs via the respiratory epithelium in your mouth, nose, and eyes. It is highly unlikely to be transmitted in food.

Jamie Meyer, MD, an infectious disease expert at Yale Medicine, says there is no evidence that food can transmit the virus. “The major mode of transmission of the coronavirus from person to person is the direct inhalation of droplets when a person coughs or sneezes.” (Businessinsider.com)

Woman Spits on Springfield, Massachusetts Officers, Says She Has COVID-19

In Springfield, Massachusetts, yet another person got out of hand and is facing felony charges after she allegedly spat on two police officers and said she has COVID-19 during a disturbance on March 30. (WWLP.com)

A spokesman for Springfield police said law enforcement officers got a report of a woman in violation of a restraining order and refusing to leave a property on Marsden Street at 1 PM. When they arrived, the police officers found the woman, 48-year-old Michelle Pelotte, who they believed was drunk.

Police allege the woman would not cooperate with them and began to spit at them and claim she has the virus. According to spokesman Ryan Walsh, Pelotte has a prior record of assault and battery against law enforcement officers. She was taken to a hospital to be medically evaluated and is facing two felony charges.

The officers completed unprotected exposure forms as required and were seen at a local ER. It is unknown if the woman actually exposed them to the virus.

Manchester, New Hampshire Man Arrested for Spitting on Officer

Massachusetts is not the only place where people are being arrested for potentially dangerous behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 6, a Manchester, New Hampshire man was hit with charges of resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer after Litchfield police claimed he took off his COVID-19 maks and spit at them while he was in their custody over the weekend. (Unionleader.com)

Litchfield police officers said they arrested Patrick Roy, 22, on a single count of resisting arrest and two counts of simple assault against a law enforcement officer.

Police said Roy appeared drunk when they responded to a domestic disturbance call in Litchfield on Greenwich Road at 8 PM on Saturday. When the police officers tried to take him into custody, Roy ran. After a short pursuit, Roy resisted arrest and struck one of the officers in the face.

Once he was at police headquarters, officers placed a mask on his face out of concern over COVID-19. The man then removed the mask and spit at a police officer.

Geoffrey G. Nathan, Esq.

About Geoffrey G. Nathan, Esq.

Geoffrey G Nathan is a top federal crimes lawyer and Chief Editor of FederalCharges.com. He is a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 1988, admitted to practice in both Federal and State courts. His cases have been featured in The New York Times, Boston Herald, Wall Street Journal, Foxnews and CourtTV. Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers Number #552110. If you have questions about your federal case he can help, call today at 877.472.5775.