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The Baltimore Police Department has launched an internal investigation after an officer was filmed intentionally coughing at residents while walking through a public housing complex in Southeast Baltimore.
“The Department takes COVID-19 very seriously and we do not condone any action by our members which may be perceived as making light of the COVID-19 pandemic, ” the Department said in a statement on Monday (April 6) according to CNN.
Video footage of the incident picks up as the officer walks towards a woman who addresses him as “officer friendly with the cherry cheeks.” The officer doesn’t respond verbally but begins coughing at the woman and continues coughing without covering his mouth as he walks past numerous residents.
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
Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison called the footage “disturbing.”
“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,” Harrison said in the statement. “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 BPD confirmed on Monday that at least eight police officers and two civilian employees tested positive for COVID-19. According to WBAL-TV, 94 officers have been cleared to return to work after the department quarantined 305 officers amid the pandemic.
A Detroit bus driver died from coronavirus two weeks after making a Facebook Live post calling out a passenger for coughing several times on the bus without covering her mouth. The death of Jason Hargrove, a Transportation Equipment Operator for the Detroit Department of Transportation, was announced by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan on Thursday (April 2).
“He knew his life was being put in jeopardy -- even though he was going to work for the citizens of Detroit every day -- by somebody who just didn’t care and now he’s gone,” Duggan said.
The Amalgamated Transit Union also tweeted a message confirming Hargrove’s death. Hargrove belonged to the Union since 2016 and was one of two AUT members to die from COVID-19. The second victim, Joseph Madore, was a paratransit operator for First Transit, Greater Hartford Transit District.
#1u #Solidarity #COVID19 #Frontlines pic.twitter.com/OGeW5AsL1m
— ATU, Transit Union (@ATUComm) April 3, 2020
Hargrove vented about his safety being at risk in an 8-minute video posted on March 21. “This coronavirus s**t is for real and we out here as public workers, doing our job, trying to make an honest living to take care of our families, but for you to get on the bus and stand on the bus and cough several times without covering up your mouth and you know we in the middle of a pandemic…that lets me know that some folks don’t care. Utterly don’t give a f**k, excuse my language but that’s how I feel right about now.”
Hargrove said that the woman was in her late 50s or early 60s and coughed four to five times. There were around nine passengers were on the bus at the time.
“I ain’t blaming nobody but that woman that did that s**t,” he continued. “For us to get through this ya’ll need to take this s**t serious. It’s folks dying out here [because] of this s**t. I’m mad right now because that s**t was uncalled for. I’m trying to be the professional that they want me to be, so I kept my mouth closed. But at some point..you gotta' draw the line and say 'enough is enough.' That s**t was uncalled for. I feel violated. I feel violated for the folks that were on the bus when this happened.”
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency and a state of disaster over the spread of COVID-19. Since reporting its first two cases on March 10, more than 12,000 people in Michigan have tested positive for the disease, and nearly 500 people have died. Many of the cases have been centered in Detroit and Oakland County.
Watch Hargrove's video below.
The 49-year-old brother of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Chris Cuomo announced in a tweet today (March 31) that he tested positive for COVID-19 after being exposed to people who are infected. Cuomo has extensively covered the coronavirus pandemic on the cable news network during his show titled, Cuomo Prime Time.
"Sooooo in these difficult times that seem to get more difficult and complicated by the day, I just found out that I am positive for coronavirus. I have been exposed to people in recent days who have subsequently tested positive and I had fever, chills and shortness of breath," Cuomo wrote in aTweet.
— Christopher C. Cuomo (@ChrisCuomo) March 31, 2020
The New York governor said in a press conference Tuesday (March 31) that his brother "is going to be fine."
"Even for essential workers, people have to be careful. Again, I've been trying to communicate that everyone – everyone – is subject to this virus," the governor said. "This virus is the great equalizer. My brother, Chris, is positive for coronavirus. Found out this morning. Now, he is going to be fine. He's young, in good shape, strong – not as strong as he thinks – he will be fine. But there's a lesson in this. He's an essential worker, a member of the press, so he's been out there. If you go out there, the chance that you'll get infected is very high."
Cuomo says his brother “is going to be fine.”
He said he’s young and strong, but jokes not as much as he thinks.
Chris will be quarantined in his basement and worried about his kids.
“He’s my best friend,” the governor said. pic.twitter.com/gmsIi9Qao8
— Joseph Spector (@GannettAlbany) March 31, 2020
"He's just worried about his daughter and his kids and he hopes he didn't get them infected," the governor continued. "You don't really know Chris – you see Chris on his show at night … but you just see one dimension," Gov. Cuomo added.
According the New York Times, Cuomo plans to continue shooting his show, Cuomo Prime Time, from his basement, where he is quarantining himself.