2 arrests raise COVID-19 concerns for police, medical workers

Man accused of spitting on Jacksonville officer & nurse; Police say another man ran toward medical workers at testing site

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville police have made two more arrests that raise COVID-19 concerns.

In one case, police on Thursday arrested a man accused of spitting on a Jacksonville sheriff’s officer and a nurse.

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, Joseph Juymohan, 28, was causing a disturbance at a used car dealership on Arlington Road near University Boulevard. An arrest report shows the owner told JSO that he was vandalizing cars and broke into an adjacent business and started spraying a fire extinguisher inside. When officers arrived, according to the report, Juymohan tried to run away, but was apprehended and wrestled into a cruiser. The Sheriff’s Office said he appeared to be under the influence of something, and kicked the inside of the police car so hard that he broke the door handle and window housing. Police said Juymohan bit into the upholstery, tearing out chunks, and then he slid over to the other side and spit on one of the officers. Later, after being transported to UF Health hospital, he spit on a nurse, police said.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Juymohan also made statements claiming he had COVID-19.

Juymohan is charged with corruption by threat against a public servant, battery on law enforcement officer and battery on a health care employee. His bond was set at $183,000.

In another case, according to the Sheriff’s Office, Damien Samuels, 27, was arrested Monday at the federally-sponsored COVID-19 testing site in Lot J outside TIAA Bank Field. Investigators said he jumped the security fence and ran toward medical professionals, ignoring commands to stop. A JSO officer pulled his car in front of Samuels, and he threw a birth certificate and a dollar bill onto the ground, according to an arrest report. He was arrested on a charge of resisting police, and his bond was set at $2,500.

As of Tuesday afternoon, both Juymohan and Samuels remained in the Duval County jail, according to online jail records.

News4Jax asked Sheriff Mike Williams about cases like these.

“We haven’t had a rash of those. (We) had a few and we, obviously, have processes in place to interact with the suspect,” the sheriff said.

On March 29, according to the Sheriff’s Office, David White, 50, was arrested after he approached a business with a container label COVID-19 and sprayed the unknown substance on and around the entrance doors. Police said he made statements to employees and customers in the area that they were now infected with COVID-19. White is charged with manufacturing, possessing and threatening the use of a weapon or hoax weapon of mass destruction.

On March 30, according to police, Sarah McCord, 35, was arrested and charged with corruption by threat of a public servant after coughing in the face of a JSO officer and telling him, “I have coronavirus.”

News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson said JSO supervisors are instructing officers how to deal with threats like these.

“I’m absolutely certain that the supervisors, as well as ranking officials, are constantly reminding all the personnel of the inherent danger that this virus carries, and taking steps and precautions to keep themselves safe first, then try your best to take care of others,” Jefferson said.

After learning of McCord’s arrest, News4Jax on Friday obtained a memo sent to attorneys with the Fourth Judicial Circuit, explaining the State Attorney’s Office’s zero-tolerance policy for COVID-19 related offenses.

“In light of this inexcusable criminal conduct, the purpose of this memorandum is to make clear that the State Attorney’s Office for the Fourth Judicial Circuit shall have a “Zero-Tolerance Policy” for any intentional COVID-19 related criminal conduct that either harms or threatens to harm any law enforcement officer or first responder," the memo reads, in part.

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