DALLAS, Texas (1080 KRLD) - Dallas County DA Craig Watkins office is looking into the possibility of filing charges against the Liberian man that brought the first case of Ebola into the United States.
Authorities in both the U.S. and Liberia are investigating whether Thomas Eric Duncan knew he had been exposed to the Ebola virus before traveling to Dallas. If that's the case then District Attorney Craig Watkins says the state crime of aggravated assault may come into play for exposing others to the Ebola virus.
"We're dealing with the issue that he may have knowingly exposed individuals in Dallas County to the ebola virus" said Dallas County District Attorney Craig Watkins. "We've prosecuted individuals, for knowingly exposing individuals to HIV - which is aggravated assault."
Dallas Co DA Craig Watkins
But in coming to Dallas with ebola, did Duncan commit a crime? "We don't know that, we're trying to get to the bottom of it." said Watkins. "We need to make sure that if we do pursue it, we are not putting other individuals in jeopardy."
Watkins knows he would certainly have to coordinate with Federal and Liberian officials before taking any action. He would also have to consider what to do with possible incarceration of a person who is infected with Ebola.
"If this person is arrested and kept in jail, would he be in a position to expose those individuals that are in jail?" said Watkins.
L.P. Phillips | @lpphillips
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
for more features.