Authorities: Man faces charges after coughing toward deputy, claiming he has COVID-19

Christian Perez, 23, faces multiple charges after coughing at a deputy and claiming he had COVID-19, authorities said. (Martin County Sheriff's Office)

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. – A 23-year-old man is facing charges after coughing toward a Martin County Sheriff’s Office deputy and claiming he has the new coronavirus, authorities said.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Christian Perez was taken into custody over the weekend after he was pulled over for reckless driving.

Authorities said Perez told the deputy he had been diagnosed with COVID-19, so the deputy provided him with a protective mask to cover his mouth.

Authorities said Perez removed the mask at one point and intentionally coughed toward the deputy.

The deputy put the mask back over Perez’s mouth, authorities said.

Perez was arrested on charges of DUI, driving without a license, assault on a deputy and threatening a public servant.

“We have zero tolerance for this despicable behavior, and anyone who threatens the health and lives of my deputies will face the maximum charges,” Sheriff William Snyder said.

It’s unclear whether Perez actually has been diagnosed with COVID-19.

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