• A Buffalo, New York woman pleaded guilty to assaulting a United States Postal Service employee, the US Department of Justice announced Wednesday.
  • Prosecutors say the woman, Melissa Daniels-Johnson, threatened to infect a letter carrier with COVID-19 and spat on him.
  • Daniels-Johnson faces up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine.
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A Buffalo, New York woman pleaded guilty to assaulting a United States Postal Service employee by spitting on him and threatening to give him COVID-19, the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of New York announced on Wednesday.

Prosecutors said the incident began around 6:50 p.m. on March 19, when Melissa Daniels-Johnson, 39, entered the parking lot of the Cheektowaga Branch Post Office through the exit driveway. A letter carrier gathering mail from the mailboxes in the parking lot told Daniels-Johnson she’d entered the wrong way, prosecutors said, after which Daniels-Johnson “shouted profanities at the letter carrier and threatened to cough on him to give him the coronavirus.”

The branch’s manager walked outside to calm the situation, according to prosecutors, and Daniels-Johnson then drove out of the parking lot. Prosecutors said on her way out, Daniels-Johnson passed the letter carrier once again and stopped her vehicle, telling the carrier that her husband would beat him up and then spitting on him, hitting him in the leg.

The guilty plea comes amid an increased spotlight on the US Postal Service at a national level, ranging from its current funding crisis, operational changes, and health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic to attacks on mail-in voting from US President Donald Trump.

Daniels-Johnson's guilty plea to assaulting a federal officer carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison, along with a $100,000 fine.