|Nasty cough, nasty run-in with the law
News & Observer | September 27, 2007
MORRISVILLE - When Morrisville police officer Chris Gill handed him
a ticket, Kent Kauffman coughed. Next thing Kauffman knew, Gill was charging
him with assault on a government official.
Kauffman acknowledges that he coughed two or three times from the window of his Dodge minivan Tuesday but said it was toward Gill's waist.
"He says I coughed in his face," Kauffman said. "But that would only work if he had a 4-foot-long face."
Kauffman said that Gill cuffed him and threw him into the side of the patrol car, and that he ended up on the ground.
"It knocked the wind out of me," he said. "He kept yelling at me to get up. I told him, 'I can't move, man, I'm sick.' "
Kauffman, an accountant for Accountemps in Chapel Hill, said he developed a cough after his dog, Blair, died of kidney failure last week. He said he was still stricken Tuesday but went to work because he needed the cash.
Kauffman was traveling on McCrimmon Parkway just after 8 a.m. when Gill pulled him over for not wearing a seat belt. Gill charged Kauffman with a Class misdemeanor. If convicted, he could spend up to 60 days in jail.
Webster's dictionary says that to cough means to expel air suddenly and noisily from the lungs through the glottis, either as the result of an involuntary muscular spasm in the throat or to clear the air passages. A Wake County judge will decide the intent behind Kauffman's cough.