CLEVELAND (WJW) — The FOX 8 I-TEAM has uncovered exclusive video revealing how some people are using COVID-19 as a threat against police and claiming they’re sick even when they’re not.
We’ve found, again and again, suspects have made false claims about being infected especially as they’re getting arrested.
Video released to the I-TEAM shows what happened on the west side after police got a call about a guy stealing energy drinks at a store.
But what police thought he did was not nearly as alarming as what he said.
The video shows an officer asked the man if he had any symptoms of the flu or the virus. He answered, “Corona. I got the corona. I’m not playing with you.”
Another officer responded, “You should be wearing a mask and be in quarantine. Now, you just exposed everybody in here.”
When these claims are made, officers wonder if the person they’re dealing with is serious, or is it just a move to try to avoid going to jail?
In this case captured on video, an officer asked, “You being serious right now? Or you trying to do a jail-itis call here?…Trying to get out of jail? No joke to me, man. I got a family. I don’t want to go back home with this crap.”
Police determined Johnny Garcia, Jr. was not sick. Cuyahoga County Prosecutors filed a felony charge of inducing panic for making a false claim about the virus.
At one point on the video, Garcia can be heard saying, “OK, I don’t have corona. Take me to jail anyway.”
Meantime, we also found Walter Poindexter was indicted. RTA Police say he got arrested for drinking on a bus. Then they say he spit on a medical worker and claimed he had the coronavirus.
And recently, at Hopkins Airport, a checkpoint had to be shut down after a traveler suddenly claimed she had the virus. She didn’t.
Then, just this week at Hopkins Airport, police hit a man with charges after he spit at an officer. That officer had a mask on to protect himself from the spread of the deadly virus.
Cleveland Police union president Jeff Follmer said, “It’s just scary to officers and their families.”
He spoke about the stress added for officers after they come in contact with anyone making claims about COVID-19.
He added, “We have to go home to our families. We nave to take measures when we go home so we’re not infecting anybody if there is that scare.”
Back at the store, the video shows Johnny Garcia ultimately apologized as he got arrested, but he now has to defend himself in court.
We’ve found charges in these kinds of cases have included obstruction, inducing panic, and even felony assault.