An ill-advised Ebola joke has landed an Ohio man behind bars on a felony charge, records show.
Emanuel Smith, 60, was gambling Wednesday at the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland when he allegedly told a dealer that he was there as a way to avoid his ex-wife, who was stricken with Ebola.
Smith, a retired municipal employee, claimed that his former spouse had recently returned to Cleveland from West Africa.
According to a Municipal Court filing, Smith’s comment “caused panic” in the downtown casino, a portion of which was shut down as a result of Smith’s claim. The closure, investigators allege, caused the business to suffer “a large financial loss.”
Several hours after his Ebola comment, Smith was arrested at his Cleveland home and charged with inducing panic, a felony, and criminal trespass. He was booked into the Cuyahoga County jail, where he is being held in lieu of $10,000 bond.
A judge has ordered Smith, seen in the adjacent mug shot, to stay away from the casino, which opened in 2012.
Smith made his Ebola crack on the day that it was first reported that a Texas nurse who tested positive for the disease had recently flown to Cleveland to visit family and try on wedding dresses.