Officials in the city of Baltimore are investigating a video where an officer is seen coughing near residents of a public housing complex.
The woman filming the officer taunted the cop, saying, “Hey officer friendly with the cherry cheeks,” before the officer walked past her coughing without covering his mouth, effectively stoking further paranoia around the coronavirus and potentially weaponizing it in the process. Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said in a statement:
“After watching the full video, in its entirety, it is not only disturbing, but incomprehensible, especially considering the high-level of strong and clear guidance that we have provided from the beginning, regarding COVID-19, […] Members are always expected to be sensitive and professional to the community, but what we saw in the video is alarming because this pandemic is affecting lives not only nationally, worldwide, but right here in our own police department.”
The woman in the video could also be heard espousing inaccurate information regarding African-Americans’ susceptibility to contracting the coronavirus. Early studies, in fact, indicate that African-Americans run a greater risk of dying from COVID-19 related complications.
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Baltimore police investigating video showing officer cough near residents of a housing project; at least 8 cops in the department have tested positive for coronavirus
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) April 7, 2020