Julio Torres, 22, of East Lampeter Township, who was arrested Monday night for allegedly hurling objects at law enforcement officers, told officials during his arraignment that he had contracted the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus.
The 22-year-old, who is charged with aggravated assault, rioting, and resisting arrest, attended a 250-person protest in front of a police station in Lancaster on Monday evening, despite needing to be in self-quarantine, Lancaster Online reported. He participated in the demonstration without social distancing, or wearing a face mask.
“During the arraignment, it was discovered that [Torres] tested positive, was told to self-quarantine, and chose to attend or participate in the protest without proper social distancing, without a proper facemask and has placed other people at risk—both the public who were peacefully participating in the protest and law enforcement,” Lancaster County President Judge David Ashworth said, according to the news outlet.
“I am very concerned that the public and law enforcement has been placed at risk,” Ashworth added.
Authorities have not yet confirmed Torres’s positive diagnosis.
“If it’s all made up on his part, then it is. All we can do is act on his word. He has told a number of officials now that he is positive,” Ashworth said.
According to court documents, Torres threw “objects which could cause bodily harm at police officers” during the demonstration. He also allegedly headbutted one police officer and kicked another officer in the head.
“These actions taken by Torres were done with the intent to prevent or coerce official action and then with the intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm,” the papers state.
As of Tuesday, Torres was being held at Lancaster County Prison as he was unable to post 10 percent of his $25,000 bail, court records show. A spokesperson for the facility told Lancaster Online that all incoming inmates at the prison are quarantined.
Lancaster Mayor Danene Sorace told the news outlet that she was very concerned that the demonstrations over the death of 46-year-old George Floyd could lead to a surge in cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP virus.
“While it has been shown that young people seem less susceptible to severe symptoms, I worry about others they come into close contact with, especially their families,” she said. “Wear a mask. Self-isolate. Get tested if you have symptoms.”