Broward News

Broward Inmate Claims to Have Ebola; Courtroom Forced to Evacuate

Well, this is one way to try to stall your sentencing.

A Broward County courtroom was forced to clear out Friday morning when an inmate told the judge he had Ebola during the morning bond court hearing.

Judge John "Jay" Hurley, who conducts the hearings with inmates over a video system and not in person, announced that the inmate, Joseph Britton, claimed to have the virus that's been making headlines as of late.

That's when everyone in the courtroom at Broward's Main Jail bolted, leaving Britton standing alone.

See also: Ebola: Rick Scott Tells CDC It Must Contact All Fort Lauderdale Frontier Passengers

The commotion happened around 9:15 a.m. Officials at the jail began to look into the matter, while Hurley spoke with Broward Sheriff Scott Israel.

Israel told Hurley he was dealing with the situation, reports the Sun Sentinel.

"I'm glad now that we have this closed-circuit TV system," Hurley reportedly said through the video link.

About an hour later, a deputy at the Broward Jail told Hurley that the courthouse had been deemed safe for inmates to return, though there's no word on how that was determined.

"In a half-hour, we just took care of it?" Hurley reportedly said to the deputy over the video link. "What if it turns out this guy really has it?"

Hurley then referenced the Dallas nurse who tested positive for Ebola after having been on a flight that made a stop in Fort Lauderdale earlier this week.

"I'm concerned some people think it was just some hoax," Hurley said. "If it turns out he was on one of those airplanes, it's conceivable."

Britton, 42, was arrested Thursday night.

The hearings went on without a hitch from there, while Britton's hearing was rescheduled for Saturday.

Britton is facing charges of battery, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest without violence.

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph. Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph