Arrest warrant issued for Christian pastor who continues packed services during coronavirus outbreak

This Sunday, pastor Rodney Howard-Brown held regular services at his church in Tampa Bay, Florida, despite a “safer at home” order in effect in Hillsborough County.

Aside from repeatedly downplaying the virus’ threat, Howard-Brown has claimed to have special machines in place that can “kill” the virus.

“We brought in 13 machines that basically kill every virus in the place,” Howard-Browne said in a video posted to his YouTube channel. “If they sneeze it shoots it down like at 100 miles per hour and it will neutralize it in a split second.”

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Despite the service being streamed online, hundreds showed up his church this Sunday anyway.

In a statement on Sunday, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said that they have “spoken to the leaders at the church regarding their Sunday services that were in direct violation of the President’s guidelines for America, recommendations made by the CDC, and orders from the Governor and the Hillsborough County Policy Group.”

Now, Florida’s Fox 13 is reporting that an arrest warrant has been issued for Howard-Brown’s arrest.

“Sheriff Chad Chronister holding a news conference about the Tampa-area church that allegedly failed to comply with social distancing orders,” Fox 13’s Matthew McClellan tweeted this Monday morning.

“Last night I made the decision to seek an arrest warrant for the pastor of a local church who intentionally and repeatedly chose to disregard the orders set in place by our president, our governor, the CDC, and the Hillsborough County Fire Rescue policy group,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in his news conference, adding that Howard-Brown’s “reckless disregard for human life put hundreds of people in his congregation at risk and thousands of residents who may interact with them this week in danger.”

“Because of the reckless disregard for public safety and after repeated warnings, I have obtained a warrant for unlawful assembly in violation of public health emergency rules both of which are second-degree misdemeanors,” Chronister said.

In a rant earlier this month, Howard-Brown claimed the virus is part of a hoax aimed at frightening people into receiving vaccinations that will kill them.

“Because the climate change narrative for global governance failed, they are using the World Health Organization to then come in and take over the control of nations and then they are going to bring in vaccines … There’s going to be forced vaccines, which they can kill off many people with vaccines. It’s about population reduction because there are too many people on the planet, but with the correct vaccines we can shoot them and then they can die.”

Watch video of Chronister’s press conference, via Right Wing Watch:

Update: News outlets are reporting that Howard-Brown has been arrested by Florida authorities and charged with two counts: unlawful assembly and a violation of health emergency rules. Both are second-degree misdemeanors.

Sky Palma

Before launching DeadState back in 2012, Sky Palma has been blogging about politics, social issues and religion for over a decade. He lives in Los Angeles and also enjoys Brazilian jiu jitsu, chess, music and art.