JERSEY CITY, NJ - A Jersey City man was arrested early Thursday morning after police say he went to a relative’s home and kicked in a window of the house when she would not let him inside. The man, identified as Eric Rock, 35, does not live at the home or have any belongings there.
As he was being arrested Rock is said to have coughed on police officers threatening that he had coronavirus and would infect them. “If I’m going to die, you’re going to die,” he allegedly said.
Rock has been charged with two counts each of second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency, aggravated assault on a police officer, throwing bodily fluid at an officer, as well as criminal mischief and harassment.
“Our police officers are working bravely and tirelessly every day to protect us during this health crisis. Regrettably, they are being called upon far too often to deal with people violating the emergency orders— or what is more egregious, people using the virus to spread fear or impede officers in their vital work,” Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said of the arrest, one of several across New Jersey on similar violations of the COVID-19 induced orders. “Staying home and maintaining social distance isn’t just the best advice to stay healthy, it’s the law. Make no mistake, we will do everything in our power to keep our residents and officers safe, and that means we won’t hesitate to file charges against violators.”
Carmine Disbrow, president of the JCPOBA, the union that represents Jersey City's rank-and-file police officers spoke out following the incident saying that he is hopeful that "anyone who threatens to or brings this deadly virus to a police officer faces the appropriate, and maximum, penalties."
"The men and women of the JCPD have not wavered once in their commitment to keeping our city safe, even in the face of this unprecedented health emergency," Disbrow said. "That anyone would use this time to cast their hatred on law enforcement, or any other frontline responder, is vile."
Violations of the emergency orders constitute a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, violators can potentially face criminal charges including second, third, and fourth degree indictable offenses.
The enhanced charges against Rock carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000.
Editor's Note: The publisher of TAPinto Jersey City serves additionally as a communications consultant for the JCPOBA.
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