Adam Lewis, 55 was sentenced at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London, U.K. on April 1 after being convicted of an assault on an emergency worker.
The case is believed to mark the first jail sentence in London imposed for a COVID-19 related incident involving a police officer.
The Police Constable’s (PC) attention was drawn to Lewis after a member of the public flagged him down while he was on cycle patrol in the borough of Westminster around 15:40hrs on March 31.
The PC was informed that a man – Lewis – had been seen attempting trying the handles of car doors in the area. He subsequently approached Lewis and attempted to detain him for a search, at which point Lewis tried to resist and smashed a bottle of wine he was holding on the floor.
Lewis then verbally threatened the PC, telling him: “I am covid [sic] and I am going to cough in your face and you will get it.” He then coughed on the PC, who was trying to keep him at arm’s reach, making no attempt to shield his mouth, and fell to the floor.
The PC bent down to restrain him, while holding his head away from Lewis, who attempted to cough up phlegm, before trying to spit in his face. Lewis also threatened to bite him, shortly after telling the PC that he had a bad disease and that he was going to give it to him.
After the PC called for assistance, other Metropolitan Police colleagues arrived and Lewis was arrested on suspicion of grievous bodily harm, and taken into custody at a central London police station, before appearing at Magistrates’ Court on April 1.
“My officers are doing everything they can to keep the public safe and police to the very best of their abilities – and we appreciate that the vast majority of people are making every effort to comply with the measures the government has introduced,” said Chief Superintendent Helen Harper, from Area West Command Unit, Metropolitan Police.
“While these types of assaults are thankfully a rare occurrence, this incident was horrendous and if we do encounter this type of unacceptable behaviour we will be robust in our response. I hope the sentence today conveys a strong message that it will not be tolerated.”
Meanwhile, Mark Manley, 35 of no fixed address was jailed for six months at Croydon Magistrates Court in Greater London on March 30 for stealing equipment from an ambulance and assaulting a security guard. He pleaded guilty to the offenses.
Police were called at 21:19hrs on March 28 to reports of a male having stolen from an ambulance at St Thomas Street in southeast London.
When challenged by security staff, the suspect assaulted one security worker and racially abused another.
The suspect had taken a bag containing personal protection equipment [PPE] from the vehicle.
Items taken included masks, paper suits and hand gel. Some of the items were rendered no longer usable due to contamination.
The male was detained by the security guards and patrolling British Transport Police.
Officers from Southwark attended and the suspect was arrested on suspicion of theft, actual bodily harm and a racially aggravated public order offence.
He was taken to a south London police station where he was subsequently charged with theft from a motor vehicle and a racially aggravated Public Order Act offense.
He was also charged with assault against an emergency worker in relation to the security guard who sustained facial injuries which were not life threatening.