A Kentucky doctor has been charged for strangling a teenage girl and shoving her friends because they weren’t practicing social distancing, police said.
John Rademaker, a 57-year-old physician, was charged Tuesday with first-degree strangulation and three counts of harassment with physical contact for the April 3 altercation at the North Commons Amphitheater, the Louisville Metro Police Department told The Daily Beast.
Rademaker, a physician for Southern Indiana Anesthesia Consultants, has been placed on administrative leave pending further investigation. According to online records, he was released from jail Tuesday.
“Obviously, we do not advise individuals concerned about social distancing to take matters into their own hands and confront people about it, especially in any physical way,” a police spokesperson said in a statement, declining to provide further details because of the ongoing investigation. “We ask people who are concerned about large gatherings to call 311 or 911 to report their concerns.”
According to witness and a 26-second video of the incident that later went viral, the altercation began Friday at about 8:30 p.m. when Rademaker and a woman approached nine teenagers who were sitting at the lakefront amphitheater about 20 minutes outside of Louisville.
The teenagers, who were defying the state’s stay-at-home order established to curtail the spread of the novel coronavirus, immediately tried to wave off the two adults who were cursing at them for not adhering to the CDC’s social-distancing recommendations.
“We’re leaving, let’s please not cuss at each other,” one girl is heard saying in the video, while Rademaker angrily looks at the group. He can then be seen shoving two teens out of his way while muttering “this asshole right here.”
The woman with Rademaker, who has not been identified and is seen in the video also filming on her phone, suddenly grabs a black teenage girl lying on the ground.
“Do not fucking touch me,” one of the teenagers is heard shouting to Rademaker before the doctor turns his attention toward her.
Aggressively shoving a third teenager out of the way, Rademaker puts his hands on the teen’s neck while her friends scream from him to stop, the video shows.
“Get off of her!” another person in the group shouts while Rademaker is still crouched over her. “Seriously get off of her.”
According to an arrest warrant obtained by WDRB, Rademaker choked the 18-year-old for several seconds before other bystanders intervened and pulled him off. The teenager, who has not been identified, suffered a red mark on her neck but did not require hospitalization.
As the pandemic continues to rage across the nation, infecting almost 400,000 and killing 12,912, there have been incidents of people lashing out at others for not practicing social distancing to combat the spread of the highly-infectious virus.
Last month, an 86-year-old woman died at a Brooklyn hospital after a confrontation over “social distancing” with another patient. A New York Police Department spokesperson told The Daily Beast the elderly woman died after she was shoved to the ground for allegedly standing too close to the other patient at Woodhull Medical Center.
The patient, who said the 86-year-old was “in my face,” has since been charged with manslaughter.
In Pennsylvania, a 57-year-old woman was charged with harassment on Friday for allegedly slapping and yelling at grocery store customers for not practicing social distancing. The East Earl Township Police Department charged Rene L. Simonini with harassment and disorderly conduct after the incident at the Shady Maple Farm Market on April 2.
“After cutting the line, she allegedly yelled and cursed at customers in her vicinity and accused them of not maintaining ‘social distancing’ guidelines,” the police said in a statement. “When confronted by another customer, Simonini allegedly slapped the other customer and quickly left the store.”