False claim of COVID-19

A man who was arrested in Kingsville on Saturday night for public intoxication escalated matters when he allegedly told police that he had tested positive for COVID-19, according to a news release from the Kingsville Police Department.

According to online jail records, James Anderson, 30, was arrested and charged for public intoxication and for making a false alarm or report. He also has two outstanding municipal warrants.

According to the news release, the KPD responded to a disturbance at the 200 block of W. Santa Gertrudis Ave.

The 911 caller reported to police when they arrived on scene that a man (Anderson) allegedly was “causing problems,” but had already fled on foot.

The release states police found the man near Fifth Street and Santa Gertrudis Avenue.

Anderson was allegedly “highly intoxicated and belligerent,” and yelled at officers “that he wanted to be taken to jail.”

However, on the way to the Kleberg County Jail, Anderson allegedly began telling the transporting officer that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and began intentionally coughing on the officer, the release states.

He was then immediately transported to the emergency room, where he allegedly continued to be “belligerent, screaming and coughing.”

Anderson, while wearing a mask, was then escorted back into the police unit from the hospital, and allegedly began to kick at the center partition of the vehicle window.

As officers tried to restrain him, the release states, he continued to cough on officers.

According to the release, he showed no symptoms of the virus and was cleared for incarceration.

On Sunday morning, KPD officers transported Anderson for testing, and his test results were negative for COVID-19.

The charge of false alarm or report has been added to the other three charges Anderson is already facing, “since he made a claim that is false or baseless and caused action by the police department.”

“This is not something to be joking about,” Kingsville Police Chief Ricardo Torres said in the news release. “We take these claims very seriously. The concerns that an arrestee has positive (COVID-19) changes our entire protocol.”

Torres said in addition to wearing protective clothing and equipment, the KPD has to sanitize vehicle interiors. 

“We do not want to knowingly take an infected person into the jail, either,” he said in the release. “Making the claim of infection does not prevent the arrestee from going to jail and just invites additional charges.”

Anderson’s bond was set at $5,709 total; $5,000 for the false alarm or report charge, and a $709 cash bond for the other three charges.

On Tuesday evening, Anderson was released from the Kleberg County Jail, according to online jail records.

On Tuesday, a call was made to confirm Anderson as the person in the news release, however KPD officials could not confirm his identity.

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