The man, Nickolas Suk, 23, was arrested May 7 by the Parsippany Police Department on charges of throwing bodily fluid at a law enforcement officer (4th degree), endangering (4th degree) and violating Gov. Phil Murphy’s emergency orders related to the pandemic, said the state Attorney General’s Office.
It said police encountered Suk when they responded to a report of a person causing property damage.
“Officers located Suk, who was acting irrationally and had a hammer in his hand,” said the Attorney General’s Office. “Suk allegedly refused to cooperate with police and began coughing and spitting toward the officers on the scene, saying ‘I hope you get corona.’
Suk joins a number of people who have been accused by police of similar behavior.
“We’re cracking down on those who jeopardize public health and undermine public safety,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal in a statement. “We have zero patience for those who spit on cops, gouge prices, or try to exploit this pandemic for their personal gain.”
State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan said most people in the state are “doing their part day-in and day-out“ to follow the governor’s orders. However, there are some who behave badly and endanger law enforcement and medical personnel doing their jobs, he said.
“Those who choose to ignore the law and selfishly place others at risk will face swift law enforcement action,” Callahan said.
Violation of the emergency orders is a disorderly persons offense carrying a sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. Such violations are charged by summons, without arrest. Fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Since the state of emergency was declared in New Jersey on March 9, at least 29 people have been charged with second-degree terroristic threats during an emergency for spitting, coughing, or otherwise threatening to deliberately expose officers, medical personnel, or others to COVID-19, said the Attorney General’s Office.