Man Sentenced for Spitting On Police While Claiming to Have Coronavirus

A police officer stands at the entrace of the courtroom in Bordeaux, southwestern France, on January 21, 2019 before the trial of Vincent Leroyer, a former hockey club coach, for sexual abuse and rape on a minor. (Photo by MEHDI FEDOUACH / AFP) (Photo credit should read MEHDI FEDOUACH/AFP/Getty Images)

A man in the French city of Montpellier has been sentenced to eight months in prison for spitting on police officers and telling them that he had tested positive for the Wuhan coronavirus.

The arrest of the man took place last week on Thursday night as he had broken into a local pharmacy to allegedly steal surgical masks. But the spitting incident did not occur until officers had taken him back to the local police station.

David Leyraud, assistant regional secretary of the Alliance Police Occitanie union, told broadcaster France Bleu: “It was when he was in the cells of the Montpellier police station that he got angry and started spitting on the ground, insulting the police and yelling that he had coronavirus.”

“When the police came closer to ask him to calm down, he spat on them. [The officer] had to put on a mask and handcuff him. He tried to bite them. Obviously, [the suspect] did not have a mask,” Leyraud added.

According to the broadcaster, the incident comes after a 25-year-old woman in Loire was convicted for spitting at police.

Mr Leyraud claimed there had been several other cases of people spitting at police since President Emmanuel Macron ordered the 15-day nationwide lockdown last week.

“Every time, the police must be confined until they know if they have been infected,” Leyraud said.

The quarantine measures are becoming increasingly difficult to enforce in the heavily migrant-populated no-go suburbs of Paris where local police told media that many migrant-background locals think the virus is a conspiracy to keep them off of the streets.

“We are not going to give up. But we also know where these people live and how they live. Strict containment, for them, is just impossible,” one officer said.

In Paris proper, locals in the 18th arrondissement, which is also home to a large migrant-background population, were found ignoring quarantine measures. A French journalist even witnessed a local woman purposely coughing in the faces of police officers.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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