Florida man charged with assault for spitting in Walmart employee’s face while claiming to have a cold

Authorities have reported that a Florida man allegedly spat on a Walmart employee and proceeded to yell racial slurs at a deputy.

Channing Almonta Cooks, a 37-year-old resident of Palm Coast, was taken into custody on May 3, as per the records available on the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office online booking platform. Cooks has been charged with a single count of battery.

The sheriff’s office received a report of a battery at a Walmart on Cypress Point Parkway at 6:43 p.m. EDT on May 3. They promptly responded to the incident, as stated in a Facebook post.

According to the employee, there was an altercation between her and a customer, later identified as Cooks, during which he spit in her face.

According to the sheriff’s office, Cooks was trying to return merchandise without a receipt. The victim said that Cooks got angry, reportedly lunged at her, and spat on her face while shouting, “I have a cold.”

Cooks was pulled over in his vehicle at a nearby CVS by deputies. He claimed that he had “inadvertently sneezed” on the employee while discussing the exchange of baby formula with her, according to the sheriff’s office.

In a video recorded by the sheriff’s office, Cooks expressed that he wasn’t angry with the employee.

Cooks informed the deputies that he did not engage in any altercation. He admitted that the employee mentioned him raising his voice initially.

“I sneezed, but it’s not my fault that I covered my mouth,” she said.

Cooks couldn’t believe it when he was being arrested.

“I can’t believe I’m being detained just for sneezing,” he exclaimed in disbelief.

Cooks was captured on video using profanities towards the arresting officer. Later on, Cooks expressed remorse and apologized for his remarks.

Cooks faced legal trouble in 2018 when he was arrested on charges of domestic battery. He also had a probation violation the following year. In addition, he has a history of criminal convictions, with a 10-year prison sentence served for a 2006 conviction of robbery with a deadly weapon in Putnam County, according to the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Rick Staly expressed his disappointment, stating that the convicted felon displayed no improvement in managing his anger since his time in prison. He highlighted how a simple discussion about returning a product escalated into a violent act, with the individual spitting in an employee’s face and continuing to berate a Deputy Sheriff on the way to jail.

“If he doesn’t learn to avoid confrontations, he’ll end up back behind bars, even after having the opportunity to calm down at the Green Roof Inn.”

According to online court records, Cooks was released on bail of $2,500. He is scheduled to appear in court for arraignment on June 3rd.

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