James Jamal Curry, age 31 of St. Petersburg, is facing numerous local and federal charges related to his arrest on March 27th and March 28.
St. Petersburg Police responded to a home in St. Petersburg after receiving a message from the victim’s friend at approximately 9:55 p.m. on March 27, 2020. The victim texted her friend asking for help. Curry and the victim were living together and began to verbally argue. According to the arrest affidavit, Curry forcibly took her keys and pushed her into the wall before knocking her down on the kitchen floor. When officers arrived, Curry refused to open the door or let the victim do the same. After about 20 minutes, the victim was eventually able to open the door with a visible bruise to the inside of her upper right arm.
Officer took Curry into custody with charges of felony battery and false imprisonment. When getting into the transport van, Curry stated, “Well I got Corona,” turned his head to the left and coughed on the officer.
He was released from jail and issued a no contact order, prohibiting him from contacting the victim in any form.
At approximately, 11:50 p.m. on March 28, the victim contacted the St. Petersburg Police since Curry was sitting outside her front door. Officers observed him at the apartment and arrested him for violation of a no-contact order.
Curry became uncooperative and refused to get into the police vehicle. He continued to brace and push against officers despite being pepper sprayed. Three officers were eventually able to force him into the vehicle. Once inside the vehicle, Curry attempted to kick out the rear window of the vehicle. As an officer attempted to remove him from the vehicle, Curry spit on her multiple times—hitting the officer’s face, nose, and inside her mouth with blood-filled saliva. Curry again claimed to have the Coronavirus, laughed, and announced that he was spreading the virus around. He told her that he intentionally spit on her because he had coronavirus and that he knew where she lived and was going to kill her. The repeated kicking of the vehicle led to a two inch crack in the door plastic and a bowing of the door.
Curry is now facing charges of criminal mischief, violation of pretrial release, resisting an officer with violence, resisting an officer without violence, violation of isolation or quarantine, and a threat against a law enforcement officer.
United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announced the filing of a criminal complaint charging Curry with perpetrating a biological weapons hoax. If convicted, Curry faces up to five years in federal prison.
Law enforcement officers subsequently obtained and executed a search warrant to test Curry for COVID-19. Curry tested negative. Individuals close to Curry and jail personnel reported that Curry had not shown any symptoms of COVID-19.
A criminal complaint is merely a charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the St. Petersburg Police Department, the Florida Department of Health, the State Attorney’s Office (Sixth Judicial Circuit), and the Pinellas County Jail. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Frank Murray.