- The Richmond Police Department is investigating a video in which an officer appears to be spitting on a detained protester three times.
- Shared widely on social media, the video has been watched by almost 20,000 people.
- It’s unknown whether the officer had the novel coronavirus – which spreads via droplets from an infected person’s coughs, speech, or sneezes – or was otherwise trying to threaten the demonstrator’s health.
- The Department of Justice has categorised the coronavirus as a “biological agent,” so “threats targeting specific individuals” can be prosecuted as acts of terrorism.
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The police in Richmond, Virginia, have launched an investigation into a video that appears to show an officer spitting on a protester.
The footage surfaced on Twitter on Tuesday and has since racked up nearly 20,000 views. In it, a protester is detained on the ground. About 10 police officers are standing at his back, and another law-enforcement officer fully outfitted in riot gear is stationed nearby.
One police officer appears to lean over and spit on the man.
“Yup, got that,” a woman shouts.
“We got that on camera, a–hole!” another yells.
Seemingly unperturbed, the officer repeats the action.
“Hey, we see you,” a woman says loudly.
The officer does it a third time.
“Yup, still doing it,” she says.
Watch this officer in Richmond, VA spits on a protestor during a global #pandemic multiple times.
— Brutum Fulmen Growing For Humanity???? (@BrutumF) June 2, 2020
Asked about the footage and the officer involved, the Richmond Police Department told Insider in an email, “We are aware of the video and are investigating.”
The scene earned swift backlash online.
I know there are heroes in law enforcement but also true evil like this
— MamaCheryl (@iammamacheryl) June 2, 2020
This is why, when the rest of America has finally had enough, there will be no mercy shown to law enforcement.
— CritterGuyDan (@CritterGuyDan) June 2, 2020
Though life is gradually returning to normal across all 50 states – with stay-at-home orders being relaxed and certain businesses being allowed to reopen – the highly contagious novel coronavirus remains a threat.
As of Tuesday, more than 1.82 million Americans have been infected and at least 105,644 have died, based on data from Johns Hopkins University. Virginia has reported 46,239 cases and 1,407 deaths.
The illness typically spreads via droplets from a patient’s coughs, speech, or sneezes. It’s also possible for a person to never fall sick and yet transmit the disease to others they come in contact with.
A fair number of protesters reacting to George Floyd’s death have worn masks – face coverings can reduce the virus’ spread – but the lack of social distancing has prompted worries of an uptick in COVID-19 cases. A study found that talking was a “likely mode” of coronavirus transmission – particularly for those speaking loudly, which makes the yelling and chanting at tightly packed demonstrations another cause for concern.
It’s unknown whether the Richmond police officer had the coronavirus or was trying to threaten the demonstrator’s health. But the Department of Justice has issued a memorandum about enforcement actions related to the coronavirus.
“We have seen an unfortunate array of criminal activity related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” according to the document. “Capitalising on this crisis to reap illicit profits or otherwise preying on Americans is reprehensible and will not be tolerated.”
The document says the coronavirus “appears to meet the statutory definition of a ‘biological agent,'” so “threats targeting specific individuals or the general public” and “the purposeful exposure and infection of others with COVID-19” would be considered acts of terrorism.
“Threats or attempts to use COVID-19 as a weapon against Americans will not be tolerated,” the document adds.
- Read more:
- ‘My face exploded’: Police firing rubber bullets have wounded and permanently disabled protesters and journalists chronicling history
- 6 Atlanta policemen were charged after being caught on video dragging 2 college students out of a car and smashing their vehicle’s window with a baton
- People are flooding social media with black squares for Blackout Tuesday, but critics say they could do more harm than good for the Black Lives Matter protests
- George Floyd was killed in a homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression, an independent autopsy found
- Trump reportedly demanded his church photo op because he didn’t like being mocked for hiding from protests in a bunker
- An ‘ANTIFA’ Twitter account that called for looting ‘white hoods’ was actually run by white nationalist group Identity Evropa
- Thousands across the UK, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, and Canada condemn racism and demand justice at global Black Lives Matter protests
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