Florida 'Karen' who was seen coughing on brain tumor patient and mother-of-10 in viral clip charged with assault
Heather Reed Sprague had filmed her altercation with Debra Hunter and posted it on Facebook, where it was viewed more than four million times
JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA: A Florida 'Karen' who was filmed coughing on a mother-of-ten who is a brain tumor patient following a confrontation at a Pier 1 store has been arrested and charged in connection to the incident.
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) previously reported how the incident unfolded while Heather Reed Sprague had been shopping at a Pier 1 Imports store in St. Johns Town Center mall in Jacksonville in June.
While at the store, Sprague saw a woman, now identified as 52-year-old Debra Hunter, loudly arguing with the employees and making a scene about an item she wanted to return but did not have on her at the moment.
After quietly observing Hunter being rude and belligerent with the employees, Sprague decided to stand at a distance and record her. When the 52-year-old noticed Sprague, she stopped arguing with the employees and turned her attention towards the mother-of-ten.
"Do you really need this? What do you want me to do, post it for you?" Hunter asks Sprague before flipping her middle finger and asking, "How about that?"
Hunter then walks towards Sprague with her arms crossed and calmly tells her, "I think I’ll get real close to you and cough on you then. How’s that? A**hole!"
She proceeds to cough on Sprague, who is a brain tumor patient at the Mayo Clinic, and hurriedly walks out of the store with her children, who had been neglected up until that point.
Sprague had uploaded the video of the incident on her Facebook page, where it quickly went viral and was viewed over four million times. It has also been shared more than 34,000 times, with many expressing their outrage at Hunter's behavior.
The mother, however, calmly explained in the caption why she had confronted the 52-year-old and how the ordeal had taught her the "firsthand the power of conscientious bystanders."
"She was screaming at, swearing, insulting, and threatening the staff as she demanded to return an item she didn’t have with her, just a photo of the item on her phone," she said, adding that the staff was "professional" and "respectful," but to little avail.
"She continued to rage, all the while her poor little boy was squirming and asking for a bathroom, which she would have needed to leave the store to find," she continued. "When she positioned herself so the clerks couldn’t exit the checkout area and screamed that she would stay right there, yelling as loud as she wanted, until all their customers left... I stood at a distance, pulled out my phone, and wordlessly began filming. When bullies are faced with accountability they must acknowledge the unacceptability of their actions,"
According to a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office report, Sprague initially notified Pier 1 about the incident but "did not want to make a knee jerk reaction" and call the police. However, she notified the authorities about the coughing four days later after she said she started feeling unwell.
Hunter was arrested on July 22 and has now been charged with misdemeanor assault, according to a warrant obtained by First Coast News. She was booked into Duval County Jail but bonded out the same day and is scheduled to be arraigned on August 19.