Edison man charged with spiting at cops while saying he has coronavirus
EDISON — Hours after Attorney Gurbir Grewal issued a statement that anyone “threatening” law enforcement with COVID-19 would face maximum criminal charges, a man kicked, coughed and spit on Edison police officers and said he had COVID-19.
Edison police said the parents of 20-year-old Steven P. Cato called police on Wednesday night for help with their out-of-control son. When officers arrived, police said they found the agitated man coughing in the kitchen. He coughed in the direction of the officers, said "I have coronavirus" and that he wanted someone to touch him.
Police said they struggled to restrain the man, who kicked an officer.
Police said they ran into more trouble with the man when he refused to get out of the police car. Nobody was injured, police said.
Once he was inside police headquarters, he again coughed and spit at officers and said “now you all have the coronavirus.” Whether the man is actually infected is unknown at this time.
He was charged with obstruction of law, terroristic threats, three counts of aggravated assault on a police officer and criminal mischief. He was being held at the Middlesex County Adult Correctional Center in North Brunswick.
Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said Wednesday that his office intends to take over the prosecution of these these cases and charge the suspects with making second-degree terroristic threats.
The added charge carries a potential prison sentence of five to 10 years in prison.
“We take all assaults on police officers seriously, but it is especially heinous for someone to spit or cough at an officer in an attempt to infect or threaten to infect them with COVID-19,” Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said in a written statement.
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