Earlier this morning, a mob gathered and assaulted 47-year-old Rawly resident Harold Johnson who reportedly coughed in the line to order a coffee at a local Moondollars.
Employees in the sandwich shop located next to the Moondollars called the police complaining of ruckus next door, where officers found Johnson tied to a stake as the mob began lighting a fire beneath him.
Police were able to effectively deescalate the situation after a 17-hour standoff with the mob who eventually agreed to evacuate the premises. The mob will face no legal consequences.
“I’m fully vaccinated,” said Johnson in an interview. “I work from home and social distance. I haven’t been in contact with anyone who has COVID-19. I just needed to cough.”
Johnson described experiencing increased fear and panic as he felt the cough surfacing beyond control. “I kept trying to swallow it down, but eventually I just couldn’t. I finally coughed just once, and immediately everyone turned and stared at me in silence. The baristas stopped making drinks, people looked up from their phones. I felt like I’d been caught committing a murder.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly created a stigma around coughing in today’s society. In a press statement, police advised the public to be cautious in order to avoid more situations like Johnson’s.
“While the mob’s actions were dangerous, Johnson’s cough was more so,” said Bob Henderson, chief of police. “We need to keep our society safe and unified. Regardless of whether or not you have COVID-19, and even if you are vaccinated, it’s best to immediately go home if you get the urge to cough.”