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Two transit police self-isolate after man coughs on them during arrest in New West

Last Updated Mar 22, 2020 at 2:45 pm PDT

(Courtesy: Metro Vancouver Transit Police)
Summary

The suspect is alleged to have grabbed a man near the SkyTrain station, before threatening transit staff with a knife

'He was coughing in such close proximity that our officer could actually feel the cough on their face'

Police are recommending charges and seeking a court-ordered COVID-19 test

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Two Metro Vancouver transit officers are in self-isolation after a man intentionally coughed on one of them during an arrest Saturday afternoon.

Sgt. Clint Hampton says the suspect is alleged to have grabbed a man near the New Westminster SkyTrain station, before threatening transit staff while holding a knife.

“Officers attended, they placed the man under arrest. And while they were dealing with the man, the man leaned in toward one of our officers and allegedly deliberately coughed in one of our officers’ faces,” Hampton says.

“He was coughing in such close proximity that our officer could actually feel the cough on their face.”

He adds they have sought a court order to have the suspect tested for the virus.

“We’ll see where that lands. that’s going to be before the courts, and that’ll be a decision they’ll make.”

Police have recommended several charges, including assaulting a peace officer.

Hampton says anxiety is already heightened due to the pandemic, he commends first responders and other whose jobs mean they can not stay home and self-isolate.

“These are uncharted territories for everyone, and in particular anyone that has to deal with the public on a regular basis.”