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Alberta man accused of coughing in Mounties’ faces, saying he has COVID-19

RCMP’s Southeast District Emergency Response Team and members of the RCMP Police Dog Service were called in to help find the man.
RCMP’s Southeast District Emergency Response Team and members of the RCMP Police Dog Service were called in to help find the man. Global News

A 59-year-old Alberta man has been charged with assault after RCMP said two of their officers were intentionally coughed on by someone saying they have COVID-19. 

According to RCMP, in the early hours of April 3, police responded to calls about a man swearing and yelling at a home along 48 Street and 48 Avenue in Wetaskiwin, Alta.

READ MORE: Alberta man possibly exposed to COVID-19 charged after coughing in officer’s face: police

RCMP said the man was arrested for breaching his bail conditions. While being escorted to the car, police alleged the man stated he had the novel coronavirus before intentionally coughing in the face of one officer.

Police alleged the man proceeded to cough in another officer’s face while being processed at the police detachment.

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Dwight Tootoosis of Wetaskiwin is facing several charges, including two counts of assaulting a police officer and failure to comply with the Public Health Act.

Tootoosis remains in custody and was scheduled to appear in court via closed-circuit-television on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Calgary police investigate COVID-19 threats to local business, Indigenous populations

On Tuesday, Alberta RCMP released a statement noting several officers have reported to being threatened in relation to the COVID-19 virus.

Alberta RCMP’s officer in charge of Criminal Operations, John Ferguson, warned the public that carrying out these threats can result in criminal charges.

“The threat to transmit the COVID-19 virus is a threat to the wellbeing and health of our members which is a criminal offence,” Ferguson said.

“To actually carry out these threats would be an Assault on a Peace Officer.”

RCMP is also reminding the public about the importance of adhering to current public health guidelines to help slow the spread of the virus in the province.

The guidelines include a mandatory 14-day self-isolation for returning international travellers, mandatory 10-day self-isolation for people with symptoms and restrictions on mass gatherings in the province.

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