New Brunswick Police have arrested a man for assault after he allegedly coughed in a person’s face during a dispute about coronavirus.
At around 11:30 a.m. Thursday, police in New Brunswick were called to a home in Rothesay, a small town about half an hour north of Saint John, for a “threat call.”
“The occupants there were in a dispute over two people who were not properly self-isolating after recent international travel,” said a press release from the Kennebecasis Regional Police Force. A man was arrested with assault for “purposely coughing in someone’s face while feeling ill.” He was also arrested for uttering threats, according to police.
“Snitch lines have proven historically to be very divisive and damaging to community cohesion,” said Ottawa lawyer Michael Spratt. “It is a practice that can lead to wasteful use of resources and it’s a practice that could be open to abuse by members in the community.” He said people could use the line as a way to air grievances or settle scores.
Spratt said the government should focus on public education, “rather than tasking community members to engage in an Orwellian practice of becoming the eyes and ears of the state.”
It’s unclear how effective these deterrents have been. However, Spratt said there are potential health risks associated with jailing people who have symptoms and don’t self-quarantine.
“It shifts some of the risks in from the larger community onto a very vulnerable community in jail,” said Spratt. “We absolutely should not be jailing people who we think have the risk of spreading COVID-19.”
Read Mack Lamoureux’s full article: Vice