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'You now have coronavirus,' Florida man tells boy, police say

Jason Copenhaver reportedly told police he actually isn't sure if he has COVID-19 and never has been tested.
Credit: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

TREASURE ISLAND, Fla. — A 47-year-old man is accused of telling a boy to take off his mask at a restaurant, getting in his face and saying he now has COVID-19.

Jason Copenhaver, of Redington Shores, was arrested Sunday evening and charged with battery and disorderly conduct on the premise of a licensed establishment, according to an arrest affidavit.

Treasure Island police said Copenhaver was at the Ricky T's Bar and Grille when he walked up to the child, whose age was not noted in the report, and asked if he were wearing a face mask. When the child answered "yes," the man reportedly told him to take it off.

Copenhaver also asked if he could shake his hand, police said. When the child refused, Copenhaver allegedly grabbed it tight and got into his face, telling him, "You now have coronavirus."

The child told police Copenhaver was so close to his face that "spit particles from (Copenhaver's) mouth landed in his face," the affidavit reads.

According to law enforcement, Copenhaver walked over to the bar afterward and was asked by the staff to have a seat as he appeared to be drunk and wasn't wearing any shoes. Authorities say he allegedly tried twice to hit a worker before staff could take physical control and walk him outside, holding him to the ground before police arrived.

Copenhaver reportedly told officers he wasn't sure if he had COVID-19 and hasn't been tested.

Records from the Pinellas County Jail, where he was booked, show he was freed after posting $650 bail.

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