Hale Powell Westford Massachusetts man arrested spitting at two female Ashburnham hikers while not wearing masks.
Hale Powell, 71, of Westford was charged with false threat of a biological agent and assault and battery for Saturday’s caught-on-camera incident on a hiking trail in Ashburnham.
One of the two women hiking on the trail captured video of the encounter, showing an elderly man spitting at her and screaming, ‘I have COVID. I’ve been tested positive.’
Ashburnham Police said the man told the hikers it was the ‘law’ to wear masks and that they were ‘irresponsible’ for not doing so before spitting in their direction on two separate occasions along with telling them they would soon be ill.
— Boston 25 News (@boston25) November 20, 2020
Series of punishment
A woman who was with the spitter could be heard saying ‘Hale, Hale’ in the footage, which cops said helped identify their suspect, in addition to the dozens of tips they received from the public.
Police Chief Larry Barrett said Powell told officers he did not have COVID-19 during the booking process.
Powell, who wore two masks to his arraignment, declined to comment on the charges to reporters as he left court, repeating only, ‘Hi, how are you?’ while walking to his car, the local paper reported.
Powell could face not more than 2 ½ years in the House of Correction or a fine of up to $1,000 on the assault and battery charge.
The charge of false issuance of a biological agent does not fall under the jurisdiction of the district court and can be punishable by up to 20 years in state prison to 2 ½ years in the House of Correction and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
The man is now scheduled to return back to court in January.