A woman who coughed on a brain-tumor patient in a viral video has been charged with assault, police say

After footage of an encounter at a Pier 1 location in Jacksonville, Florida, went viral, a woman has been charged with assault.Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images
  • A Florida woman was arrested after a video appearing to show her coughing on another woman in a store during the coronavirus pandemic was shared widely online.
  • Debra Hunter was charged with assault on July 22, a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office representative said.
  • A video of the incident, which happened on June 25, was viewed over 4 million times on Facebook.
  • It's one of several coughing disputes that have recently gained wide attention online.

A woman who coughed on someone during a dispute on June 25 in a Pier 1 store in Jacksonville, Florida, has been charged with assault, the police said.

Heather Sprague had taken out her phone to film an altercation between the woman and the staff. Sprague posted the video of her encounter on Facebook, writing in the caption that the woman "was becoming increasingly belligerent" and threatening employees when they said she could not return a damaged item.

In the video, the woman appears to realize Sprague is filming, then says, "I think I'll get real close to you and cough on you." She then coughs on Sprague.Advertisement

In her post, Sprague said she was undergoing treatment for a brain tumor.

As of Monday morning, the video had been viewed more than 4 million times.

A representative for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office confirmed to Insider that a woman named Debra Hunter was arrested and charged with assault on July 22. First Coast News, a local ABC affiliate, first reported the news on Friday.
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The situation at Pier 1 is one of many notable instances of people acting out in stores during the coronavirus pandemic. Another woman coughed on patrons in a New York City bagel store in June after she was asked to put on a face mask to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Sprague and Hunter did not immediately return Insider's requests for comment.
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