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Utah man accused of intentionally coughing on people, might face assault charges

Oct 16, 2020, 8:30 AM
coughing on people...
A southern Utah man might be looking at assault charges after police say he began coughing on people intentionally during a political argument. (Google)
(Google)

KANAB, Utah – A southern Utah man might be looking at assault charges after police say he began coughing on people intentionally during a political argument.

Police in Kanab say there have been dueling protests every weekend for the past few months.  On one side 300 South in downtown, you have Black Lives Matter supporters.  On the other, you have people who back President Trump.  Police chief Tom Cram says the arguments between the two sides have been getting more intense every week.

“This last Saturday, it got to where it blew up and got out of hand,” Cram says.

Police say Robert Brissette got into a heated argument with BLM supporters and later intentionally coughed on them.  One protestor caught it on video and posted it to Twitter.

(Warning: The following video contains profane language.  Watch at your discretion.)

Cram says, “You can see the video and see what actually happened.  It has all been investigated the case has been turned in to the County Attorney’s Office for screening of charges.”

In the video, you can hear Brissette telling the protestors he was going to press assault charges for hitting him after the coughing.  However, Cram says coughing and spitting on people is also a crime.

“It’s assault, no matter what.  The question is, ‘Is it aggravate assault?  Is it felony assault?  Is it a misdemeanor assault?’” Cram asks.  “With this virus, coughing on people is just a little more serious than simple assault.  So, we’ve go to discuss that and decide what we think is appropriate.”

Cram says Brissette was not arrested or booked into jail.  He reportedly gave police a statement and was allowed to go home while police and prosecutors make their decision. 

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Utah man accused of intentionally coughing on people, might face assault charges