St. Petersburg man faces federal charges after spitting on a police officer and claiming to have COVID-19
Covid in handcuffs on gray background with copy space

Covid in handcuffs
The man has an extensive rap sheet.

U.S. Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez is charging James Jamal Curry with perpetrating a biological weapons hoax after the St. Petersburg man told officers who were arresting him that he was infected with the coronavirus and then coughed into the officer’s arm.

If convicted, Curry faces up to five years in federal prison.

Officers from the St. Petersburg Police Department were responding to a domestic violence call involving Curry on March 27.

He was arrested and booked into the Pinellas County Jail and was released on bond the next day.

After his release, police were again called to the residence and arrested Curry again. During that time, Curry spit on the arresting female officer multiple times, spraying the officer’s face, nose and inside of her mouth.

Curry reportedly laughed after propelling intentional expectorant and again announced to officers that he was infected with the coronavirus and “spreading it around,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Law enforcement obtained and executed a warrant to test Curry for the virus. He tested negative.

Curry’s case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the St. Petersburg Police Department, the Florida Department of Health, the State Attorney’s Office in St. Petersburg and the Pinellas County Jail.

Assistant U.S.  Attorney Frank Murray will prosecute the case.

St. Pete Mayor Rick Kriseman shared the Department of Justice’s announcement on Facebook Wednesday.

“This isn’t a game and we’re not playing,” Kriseman wrote.

The St. Petersburg Police Department also shared the notice on its Facebook page, but with less fanfare about the charges.

Curry, 31, has an extensive arrest record in Pinellas County with charges leveled for domestic battery, battery, possession of a controlled substance, possession of cocaine, resisting arrest, exposure of sexual organs, providing a false name to law enforcement, false imprisonment, trespassing, burglary, possession of MDMA, criminal mischief and reckless driving, among others.

Most of his charges were related to domestic violence. He was also charged with violating the county and state stay-at-home order related to the COVID-19 crisis.


Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected]


  • Jim Donelon

    April 8, 2020 at 11:30 pm

    He should be given time in prison so he could get what he asked for.
    How many times do idiots like this be given a pas to walk the streets.

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Comments are closed.


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