HIV-Positive Man Charged with Aggravated Assault for Spitting on Police Officers
X, 25, an HIV-positive man, was charged with aggravated assault for spitting on two Dallas police officers. According to police, when a Dallas County Hospital employee tried to put a spit mask on X, who was being booked for public intoxication, he apparently got loose and spit on a male officer. Then he was taken to the Dallas County Jail, where he spit in a female officer’s face. Both officers were sent to the hospital to make sure they weren’t infected. X also has hepatitis, the papers reported.
First things first: You can’t get HIV from spit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes an explicit point of saying that there are no known cases of HIV being spread through saliva. But X is being charged with aggravated assault, because his saliva is considered a deadly weapon.
Now, X would have been charged with assault regardless of his HIV status. Since January, three other people have been charged with assault and harassing a public servant for spitting on cops. The Texas penal code considers “harassment of public servant” to be an “assaultive offense.” It defines that harassment as when someone “causes another person the actor knows to be a public servant to contact the blood, seminal fluid, vaginal fluid, saliva, urine, or feces of the actor, any other person, or an animal while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of the public servant’s official power or performance of an official duty.”