Woman arrested in New York subway over refusal to wear mask
A woman was arrested on Wednesday on the New York subway after police say she refused to wear a face covering.
Kaleemah Rozier, 22, was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and harassment after officers said they asked her to wear a face mask inside the Atlantic Avenue/Barclay Center Subway Station.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) said in a statement that officers approached the woman and “politely informed” her that she could not be in the subway station without a face covering. Police said they were met with “vulgar language” from the woman, who “repeatedly refused” to “properly wear her face covering over her nose and mouth.”
Officers told her she would be removed from the station and began to escort her, prompting Rozier to allegedly wave her arms and strike an officer with her hand.
“As a result of these actions, she was taken into custody and placed under arrest,” NYPD said.
Video of the incident shows the woman and a child are both wearing face masks that did not cover their noses and mouths. The footage shows one officer escorting the child and four officers restraining the woman, who yelled and cursed at the officers.
Mom placed in handcuffs after altercation with #NYPD & #MTA over not fully wearing her mask in #Brooklyn #NYCSubway station. Police say woman wouldn’t listen, but wasn’t arrested and charged, rather taken out of station. Courtesy: Anthony Davis on FB pic.twitter.com/nohs9NpuGj
— Dean Meminger (@DeanMeminger) May 13, 2020
Several people took to social media to criticize police for the arrest, saying it was unnecessarily violent, as the woman was knocked to the ground.
But the NYPD stood by its officers, saying, “We are confident that the police officers in this incident acted appropriately and with respect. This individual was arrested only after her behavior toward officers warranted police action.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio reacted to the video on Twitter, saying that while face masks are “important to protect everybody” and “not optional,” he didn’t approve of the officers’ actions in the video.
“No one wants to see an interaction turn into this,” he said. “We’ve made progress with de-escalation. This isn’t it.”
Face coverings are important to protect everybody — they’re not optional.
But no one wants to see an interaction turn into this.
We’ve made progress with de-escalation. This isn’t it. https://t.co/jVx22uLSj8
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) May 14, 2020
New York City, one of the cities hit hardest by the virus in the world, has documented 185,206 cases of coronavirus and hospitalized 49,307, according to city data. There are 15,233 confirmed deaths and 5,083 probable deaths.
New Yorkers have to wear a face mask in public following an executive order passed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) last week.