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Cellphone video shows man claiming he has coronavirus and spitting at women because they weren't wearing face masks

A man was caught on cellphone video spitting at two young women and telling them he has the coronavirus after he argued with them for not wearing face masks.


The alarming incident unfolded near Boston on Nov. 15 and led to his arrest by police on Tuesday.

The video showed the man approach the woman recording and spit on the ground in her direction. He says, "I have COVID! I've been tested positive!"

He then spits on the ground in her direction again.

"Are you OK?" asks the woman, to which the man responds, "No! You won't be soon!"

He spits a third time and laughs as he walks away.

In another portion of the video, the woman can be heard saying, "I don't care, I'm not gonna wear a mask when I'm outside!"

"That's not the law," the man responds.

Police said that the man was walking with a female companion when they allegedly accosted two female hikers for not wearing masks. He spat at them after arguing over the masks.

They later arrested 71-year-old Hale Powell of Westford. In the video, the man's companion appears to call him "Hale" several times as he accosts the women.

"That's not the right approach to deal with anything," laughed Lt. Chris Conrad of the Ashburnham police said to WBZ-TV. "It was hostile, it was inappropriate, it was threatening. And it could even be assault."

Police said that Powell had not tested positive for the coronavirus, despite what he said to the women. They charged him with false threat of a biological agent and assault and battery, which is a felony.

A judge ordered Powell to get tested for the coronavirus and to quarantine for 14 days.

Ashburnham Police Detective Robert Siano told the Sentinel & Sun that they were inundated with calls after asking for help from the public in identifying the man from the cellphone video.


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