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Utah man said he had coronavirus, then intentionally coughed on officer, police say

By Pat Reavy, KSL | Updated - Apr. 3, 2020 at 2:01 p.m. | Posted - Apr. 3, 2020 at 1:46 p.m.



WEST JORDAN — Police arrested a man accused of telling an officer he might have the coronavirus, then turning and intentionally coughing in that officer’s face.

Bill Anderson, 31, was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail Thursday for investigation of making a threat of terrorism, possession of drug paraphernalia, intoxication and a pedestrian infraction.

Thursday night, a West Jordan police officer had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting Anderson, who was crossing the road outside of a crosswalk while wearing dark clothing in a dimly lit area, according to a police affidavit.

Anderson, who police say was intoxicated, was placed in handcuffs.

While the officer was searching the man while placing him under arrest, Anderson said, “I might have the coronavirus,” then “pulled the bandana covering his mouth down with his chin, turned toward me, and intentionally coughed in my face. In addition, Bill then turned his face away from me and began coughing numerous times,” the officer wrote in his affidavit.

“Bill’s negligent actions of coughing in my face ... could potentially result in bodily injury or death to myself and other officers.”

When asked if he was carrying any drugs, Anderson replied, “Is marijuana a drug?” the affidavit states. A marijuana pipe was found in his backpack.

After the arrest, the officer went to the decontamination area that the department has set up because of concerns about COVID-19, said West Jordan Police Sgt. JC Holt. There, the officer was able to change into a new uniform and shower, Holt said the officer will be watched closely over the next two weeks but was not quarantined as of Friday,

It was not immediately known whether Anderson has the new coronavirus.

Pat Reavy

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