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Man allegedly coughed in Grapevine officer's face, claimed he was infected with COVID-19

When confronted by the officer, the suspect said "it was a joke," Grapevine police say.
Credit: Grapevine police
Jonathan Dechoudens, 27

A 27-year-old man has been arrested after he allegedly coughed in a Grapevine officer’s face while claiming he had COVID-19, officials say. 

According to Grapevine police, the incident occurred around 12:45 a.m. April 3 in a parking lot off Northwest Highway.

Authorities say an officer was sitting in his patrol vehicle with the window on the driver's side down, when Jonathan Dechoudens ran up to the window and coughed.

That’s when Dechoudens allegedly said he was infected with the novel coronavirus. When the officer confronted the suspect, Dechoudens said it was a joke, according to officials. 

As a precaution, the officer called in additional units and medics to screen Dechoudens to check him for symptoms related to COVID-19.

Authorities say once Dechoudena was cleared, he was arrested and booked in jail on a terrorist threat charge. But the Tarrant County’s District Attorney's Office later changed the charge to harassment of a public servant.

The officer who was coughed on has been cleared to continue working and remains free of coronavirus symptoms, officials say.

Grapevine police say the officer has his temperature checked before beginning each shift, as do all employees who enter the Grapevine Public Safety Building.

The police department says its officers wear protective gear if needed in order to stay safe during the current pandemic.

Officers also have access to sanitizing liquids and wipes and check all suspects for symptoms of coronavirus before they are taken to jail.

“Anyone who claims they are trying to give the virus to another person will face charges,” Grapevine police said.

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