U.S. Attorney: Cleveland man claimed he had coronavirus, coughed in officers’ faces

Coronavirus
Walter Ray Poindexter mushot

Walter Ray Poindexter (Photo courtesy: Cuyahoga County Jail)

CLEVELAND (WJW)– A Cleveland man is faces charges after he falsely claimed he had COVID-19 and coughed into the faces of police officers and paramedics, according to court documents.

Walter Ray Poindexter, 32, was indicted on charges of false information and hoaxes, U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman announced on Wednesday.

Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority police were called about an intoxicated man on a downtown trolley on March 14. Poindexter was arrested on an outstanding warrant from Franklin County and public intoxication, then taken to the Cuyahoga County Jail.

That’s when he repeatedly claimed he had coronavirus and difficulty breathing, according to court documents. Poindexter is accused of intentionally coughing into police officers’ faces and in the direction of a jail nurse.

Court documents said he was taken to MetroHealth Medical Center for evaluation, where he coughed and spit in the direction of paramedics, police officers and hospital staff. He also spit directly in the face of one paramedic.

Poindexter and the paramedic both tested negative for COVID-19.

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