Maryland man with coronavirus purposefully coughed on security officer and deputy, police say

Michael Palani Smith, 32, is charged with making a threat of mass violence, two counts of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault stemming from the March 24 altercation at Meritus Medical Center.

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WJZ) -- A Maryland man with coronavirus faces numerous charges after allegedly being combative with workers at a hospital and coughing at a deputy and a security officer.

Michael Palani Smith, 32, is charged with making a threat of mass violence, two counts of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault stemming from the March 24 altercation at Meritus Medical Center.

According to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, workers at the facility’s emergency department asked Smith to wear a protective bandana due to his COVID-19 diagnosis. Smith reportedly refused and became combative with security and hospital workers.

Smith also yelled that he didn’t care if he got others sick because no one cares about him, the sheriff’s office said.

During the altercation, officials said Smith pulled down the bandana and “forcefully coughed” toward a deputy and a security officer.

Smith is being held at the Washington County Detention Center without bond.

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