Man accused of coughing on Westport police officer, threatening to spread coronavirus

Steven Lesnikowski

WESTPORT, Mass (WLNE) – Westport police said on Tuesday that one of their officers was issuing a parking citation at West Beach when she was approached by a man who intentionally coughed on her before he said he had COVID-19.

West Beach is a designated parking area for residents only and requires a parking permit, police say.

Steven Lesnikowski, 29, of Northborough, Mass., allegedly approached Westport Officer Sarah Zielinski  as she was issuing a parking citation for his car, according to police.

Lesnikowski claimed to police that he did not see the signage requiring a permit for parking and asked officer Zielinski if the ticket could be “torn up.”

Zielinski responded to the 29-year-old that the citation had already been written up and he had the option to appeal the citation.

Police allege that Lesnikowski immediately became “very hostile” by yelling expletives to Officer Zielinski.

As she was handing Lesnikowski the citation, he coughed in her direction and then claimed he had COVID-19. He proceeded to tell her that now she had it too.

After that encounter, Zielinski stepped away from Lesnikowski and placed the citation on his car’s front passenger wiper blade.

Lesnikowski then quickly got into his car and left the scene but paused in the roadway to retrieve the citation from the windshield.

Zielinski says she observed Lesnikowski proceed to throw the citation out the window of his car as he drove away.

Lesnikowski later called the station to speak with a supervisor regarding the incident.

He stated he had a video of the incident but wouldn’t provide it upon request, according to Westport police.

When Lesnikowski was later contacted by a Westport Detective, he stated that Zielinski was lying and that the interaction between them never happened.

After that claim officer Zielinksi requested a warrant for Lesnikowski’s arrest on the charges of Threat of a Dangerous Substance, Assault and Battery, and Destruction of a Parking Ticket.

Westport police urge anyone who many have been in contact with Lesnikowski to seek medical attention if they feel as though they may have been exposed or if they show signs or symptoms for COVID-19.

Categories: Coronavirus, Massachusetts, News