HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL. – It is a third-degree felony to spit on a law enforcement officer.
On August 14, 2020, Arturo Chavez, who is recorded as residing “at large” in Plant City, was caught trespassing on the Florida Department of Transportation property by a Hillsborough County sheriff. Chavez resisted arrest without violence. That got him two misdemeanors.
But Chavez made his own matters worse after he was transported to the Orient Road Jail. In the process of being booked, Chavez’s spit mask was removed by a detention deputy to take a photograph. Through surveillance video, Chavez was caught spitting on the deputy after the mask’s removal. His spit landed on his victim’s right hand and arm. Thereafter he spat on the victim’s shoulder, spat into the eyes of the law enforcement officer who arrested him and spat on a detention deputy attempting to finish photographing.
While he could have settled for two misdemeanors, Chavez wound up being charged with three third-degree felonies known as “Battery on a Law Enforcement Officer” and “Battery on Detention Staff.”
Normal law enforcement procedures would be to draw Chavez’s blood and sample it for HIV, Hepatitis, or other sexually transmissible diseases, but Chavez repeatedly refused to cooperate.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister filed a formal “Motion to Compel Blood Sample” on August 15, which was granted by the judge. The result of Chavez’s blood test is pending. His criminal history, according to the Hillsborough County Clerk’s Office, includes a 2015 arrest for possession of cocaine and methamphetamines. Civil and criminal traffic offenses are also recorded.
Chavez is scheduled to address the criminal court in Tampa on January 21, 2021. He remains in jail with an $18,000 bond.
The Free Press – Tampa will report as this story develops.