UPDATE 6/26: The woman who coughs on a baby in the footage below has been identified. Read on to find out what consequences she’s facing — and what her employer has to say.
Police were on the lookout for a woman who was caught on a surveillance camera coughing in a baby’s face. The 1-year-old boy and his mother were waiting in line at a Yogurtland in San Jose, California when the woman reportedly confronted them about social distancing. Police released footage of the incident in a bid to find the woman and hold her responsible. She has since been identified. (See the update below.)
Woman Deliberately Coughs on Baby
Authorities say the situation unfolded on the evening of June 12, when the woman was waiting in line in front of the mother and child.
“The preliminary investigation revealed the suspect was upset the female was not maintaining proper social distancing, so the suspect removed her face mask, got close to the baby’s face, and coughed 2-3 times,” a police statement read. “The suspect left the scene and has not been identified or apprehended.”
The boy’s mother, Mireya Mora, told ABC7 news the suspect gave little warning before coughing. “It happened so fast, I was in shock. She got close, she took off her mask, and she coughed three times super hard on my son’s face.”
Mora also believes the incident may have been racially motivated.
“I believe this woman may be racist because the family in front of her [was] white,” she said. “Me and my grandma are Hispanic and she started telling me about my distance and harassing me and my son once I started speaking Spanish to my grandma.”
Police Asked for Help
The San Jose Police Department asked for the public’s help in finding the unidentified woman.
“The suspect is described as a white female in her 60s, medium build, wearing a gray [bandanna], glasses, long sleeve shirt with gray vertical lines, white dress pants, and patterned tennis shoes,” the department said.
ABC News reported that the 1-year-old ran a slight fever following the incident, but is doing okay now according to his mom.
“If he were to get sick, it’s just, I can’t even imagine,” Mora said.
“Coughing on someone’s face,” she continued. “She did it on purpose, it’s not like she did it on accident, oh cough, cough — no, she purposely coughed on my son’s face.”
Updated — June 25, 2020
The Mercury News reports that the woman has been identified as an employee of the Oak Grove School District in San Jose. In response to the news, Oak Grove Superintendent Jose L. Manzo released a statement on Wednesday, June 24.
“We do not tolerate conduct from any employee that compromises any child’s safety,” said Manzo. “The employee is currently off of work and not providing any services to our District students.”
Police declined to name the suspect and have yet to make any arrests, according to Mercury News. However, she may end up facing steep consequences. In March, a Department of Justice official said purposeful COVID exposure could result in terrorism charges, while a man in New Jersey was hit with such charges after coughing on a woman in a grocery store.