A Florida judge has sentenced a woman to 30 days in jail for coughing on a customer at a Pier 1 store last year.
Debra Jo Hunter, 52, was also ordered to pay a $500 fine, serve probation for six months and enroll in a mental health program, along with a program for anger management.
Hunter was arrested last June after she was seen in a video purposely coughing on another woman during an argument inside the store.
“According to investigators, the victim, Heather Sprague, had begun recording Hunter’s heated encounter with the employees over an item return,” the Daily Mail reported.
“Hunter saw her and made a rude gesture before walking up and saying she would cough on her. And then she coughed on her, an arrest affidavit said. Sprague, who is being treated for a brain tumor, told the judge she spent days anxiously searching for a place where she and her family could be tested for the coronavirus. The tests ended up being negative, she said,” said the Mail.
During her trial, Hunter told the judge that her family had already paid heavily for her actions, saying her children have lost friends. “I watch as my kids lower their heads and turn the opposite direction, so they won´t be recognized or approached,” she told the judge. “And I know exactly what they’re feeling because I do the same thing.”
The sentence comes a month after a man charged with assault when he was caught on video “forcefully exhaling” on two women outside former President Donald Trump’s Virginia golf course settled his case.
Raymond Deskins, 61, of Sterling, donated $3,000 to the Loudoun County branch of the NAACP through his lawyer.
Michelle Thomas, president of the branch, said the donation will help provide scholarships to a graduating senior at each of the 17 high schools in Loudoun, according to The Loudoun Times. “Helping kids achieve their college dreams is a great way to respond to bad with good.”
Last November, Deskins was charged with misdemeanor assault after a citizen obtained a warrant through a county magistrate, The Associated Press reported, adding that he was seen “forcefully exhaling” on the women.
Videos that went viral on social media showed Deskins blowing air on two women after one of them asks him to move farther away because he was not wearing a mask.
“That’s assault,” one of the women said after Deskins blows on them.
“I breathed on you,” said Deskins, who was wearing a Trump “Make America Great Again” shirt and had an inflatable pool toy with Trump’s likeness around his waist. “Yeah, call the cops and ask them to come get me.”
Virginia regulations at the time required residents to wear masks in stores and other indoor locations, but not outdoors.
The incident happened outside Trump National Golf Club, where the president was playing golf. Supporters and protesters often gathered near the club entrance to cheer or jeer Trump.
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