Copenhaver, 47, was arrested and is facing misdemeanor charges. According to the arrest report, Copenhaver also attempted to hit a staff member before he was forcibly removed from the restaurant. He told police officers he has never been tested for COVID-19 and was not sure whether he had contracted the virus.
The confrontation happened on Treasure Island, which is located west of Tampa in the Gulf of Mexico.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Jason Copenhaver Approached a Boy Wearing a Mask & Told Him to Take it Off, Police Said
The confrontation happened at Ricky T’s on Treasure Island on August 2, Fox13 reported. According to the arrest affidavit, Copenhaver entered the restaurant around 9:30 p.m. and approached a boy who was wearing a mask. The affidavit did not specify the boy’s age but noted that he was a minor.
But according to the arrest report, Copenhaver grabbed the victim’s hand anyway and moved in closer to the victim’s face. Police said Copenhaver told the boy, “You now have coronavirus” and that Copenhaver’s spit landed on the child’s face. The report states, “Victim stated the defendant was in such close proximity that spit particles from the defendant’s mouth landed in his face.”
2. Arrest Report: Copenhaver Tried to Strike a Restaurant Employee & Staff Members Held Him Down Until Police Arrived
After the interaction with the boy, Copenhaver headed toward the restaurant bar. Copenhaver was not wearing shoes and appeared intoxicated at the time, according to the arrest report.
A male staff member told him to sit down. Copenhaver was then accused of threatening the worker and attempted to hit him twice. The affidavit explained that “restaurant staff took physical control of the defendant and walked him outside, holding the defendant to the ground while waiting for officers’ arrival.”
The officer who filled out the affidavit noted that Copenhaver appeared to be under the influence of alcohol. According to the report, Copenhaver did not appear to be under the influence of drugs and the officer did not think there was any indication of mental health issues.
3. Copenhaver Faces Misdemeanor Charges & Posted Cash Bond a Few Hours After the Arrest
Copenhaver did not speak with the police officers about the accusations again him on the night of his arrest. After the officers read him Miranda rights, Copenhaver invoked the right to remain silent, the affidavit reads.
Copenhaver is facing misdemeanor charges for Simple Battery and Disorderly Conduct on the Premise of a Licensed Establishment. He was booked into jail around 11:30 p.m. in Pinellas County.
4. He Pleaded Not Guilty
Copenhaver entered a not guilty plea via his attorney on August 5, Pinellas County records show. He waived his right to appear at an arraignment hearing.
Court documents list attorney Sean McQuaid as Copenhaver’s defense lawyer. Heavy has reached out to Mr. McQuaid for comment about the case. We have not yet heard back.
We also asked whether Copenhaver had been tested for the coronavirus since the arrest, or whether there were plans to have one done. The arrest affidavit noted that Copenhaver told the officers he was not sure whether he had COVID-19 and had not been tested.
5. Copenhaver Says He Is Self-Employed
Copenhaver lives north of Treasure Island in Redington Shores, according to the arrest affidavit. The report states that Copenhaver is self-employed but it was not immediately clear what type of work Copenhaver engages in. A search of online records lists three vehicles to Copenhaver’s name and includes a filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in North Carolina Eastern Bankruptcy Court in 1997.
His record in Pinellas County lists only a few traffic violations. Copenhaver paid a small fee in 1995 for violating an open container law. In 1996, he was cited for speeding and not having a valid driver’s license. He also paid a fine in 2003 for failing to obey a traffic control device.