FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — A hearing in a Broward courtroom ended with Hazmat crews investigating an inmate after police said he claimed he had Ebola.READ MORE: Florida Condo Collapse Settlement Reaches, Tops $1 Billion
Broward Sheriffs officials later confirmed the inmate, Joseph Britton, does not have Ebola.
Earlier on Friday, as Britton faced a judge in bond court, the judge reading his arrest report saw he claimed to have Ebola.
“May I see one of the deputies? Mr. Britton take a step to your right,” said Judge John Hurley in bond court video.
“Yes, your honor,” replied Britton.
The judge then is heard saying, “This gentleman has claimed he has Ebola.”
A moment after that he ordered all prisoners in the courtroom to be cleared and put in the hallway.
Officials said the judge closed down the courtroom which also triggered officials to contain Britton while Fort Lauderdale Hazmat teams investigated the situation and later took him to a hospital for examination.READ MORE: South Florida Man Accused Of Setting Wife On Fire, Hitting Her With His Car
According to the arrest affidavit, the 42-year-old was arrested outside a Fort Lauderdale bar after allegedly becoming belligerent and combative. When police showed up, Britton shouted profanities and said, “I have Ebola,” said the report.
Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said after his arrest, staff members performed routine medical exams which included a screening for Ebola.
“They medically screened him. They asked him new questions that our medical staff brought to fruition based on the Ebola virus,” said Broward Sheriff Scott Israel.
Authorities said Britton denied making the claim. According to officials, Britton also had not been outside the U.S. which was confirmed with family members.
Meantime, authorities are worried there may be other people who might want to claim they have Ebola but Sheriff Israel said they are preparing authorities for this situation.
“We’re putting out a training bulletin. Our deputies will be made of aware of what questions to ask. Where have you traveled? Have you visited any nations in Africa and so on,” said Israel. “And they’ll be given a checklist of questions to ask.”
The Sheriffs Office says Britton could face additional charges for the false Ebola claim and they warn others of doing the same.
“Those that get arrested, a lot of them are intelligent people and they would rather be in the hospital than jail. We understand that. We’ll be meeting on those types of things and if the law allows us, we’ll be prosecuting and arresting those who go down that road,” said Sheriff Israel.
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