The incident took place on June 12 at a Yogurtland in San Jose – about 50 miles south of San Francisco, KTVU 2 reported.
Surveillance footage shows a white woman in her 60s standing in front of a mother and her 1-year-old child, who was in a stroller.
At some point, the woman became upset with the mother for not maintaining social distancing. She then removed her mask and coughed in the baby’s face several times, according to police.
The mother, Mireya Mora, told KGO-TV she believes the incident was race-related because her family is Hispanic. The family in front of the woman was white, but she did not yell at them, Mora said.
“[S]he started telling me about my distance and harassing me and my son once I started speaking Spanish to my grandma,” Mora told the station.
Mora said her son developed a mild fever after that incident, but he has since recovered.
“I can’t believe someone has a heart to do this – and why?” Mora told KNTV. “My child did nothing wrong?”
The San Jose Police Department is appealing to the public for help in identifying the “coughing” suspect, who is wanted on assault charges. Anyone with knowledge of the matter is being asked to contact the San Jose Police Department’s Assaults Unit.