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Woman tased, arrested for trespassing for not wearing mask at Ohio football game
An Ohio police officer tased and arrested a woman on Wednesday after she refused to leave an eighth grade football game for not wearing a mask, officials said.
Police in Logan, Ohio, who identified the woman as Alecia Kitts, said the officer told Kitts she would be asked to leave because she was not wearing a mask, in violation of school policy. After Kitts refused to leave the stadium, the officer warned she would be cited for trespassing. She was tased after she resisted arrest.
A video circulated online appears to show the officer, identified as School Resource Officer Chris Smith, handcuffing the woman and saying, "Put your hands behind your back."
"I will not put my hands behind my back," she responds. "I'm not currently doing nothing wrong."
Approximately two minutes later, the officer tases the woman, arrests her and takes her away from the stands.
Police said in a statement that when Smith informed Kitts she needed to wear a mask, she responded she had asthma and would not put it on.
"Officer Smith advised the female several times that she needed to put her mask on, and that if she did not, she would be asked to leave and would have to wait outside the stadium," the statement reads. "The female continually refused his request and Officer Smith advised her that if she refused to leave, she would be cited for trespassing and escorted off the property."
Police said after Kitts refused to leave, Smith told her she was under arrest but she resisted.
The officer told her he would use his Taser if she didn't comply. The woman continued resisting, police said, prompting him to use his Taser "on her shoulder area and drive stunned her once," which allowed him to arrest her.
Kitts was charged with criminal trespassing and released at the scene. Additional charges are pending for Kitts and another woman with her who allegedly interfered with the arrest.
"It is important to note, the female was not arrested for failing to wear a mask, she was asked to leave the premises for continually violating school policy," the police department said. "Once she refused to leave the premises, she was advised she was under arrest for criminal trespassing, she resisted the arrest, which led to the use of force."
"This is an unfortunate incident for everyone involved, the statement concluded. "The incident remains under investigation."
The Logan Police Department said in a statement that Smith was on duty at the football games to ensure safety and that fans are following health guidelines.
Logan-Hocking Schools Superintendent Monte Bainter told The Hill in a statement that the woman was asked to follow the mask policies of the Ohio High School Athletic Association and the athletic facility and refused.
"The attendee refused to do so and consequently was asked to leave by the attending law enforcement officer," he said. "After resisting the request to exit the premises, the individual was apprehended at the discretion of the attending law enforcement officer."
The superintendent confirmed to CBS affiliate WBNS in Columbus, Ohio, that the woman was supporting the opposing team from Marietta City Schools.
Marietta City Schools Athletic Director Cody Venderlic confirmed the incident to The Marietta Times.
"I'm grateful that it didn't happen in Marietta, but it saddens me that it was Marietta that caused it in Logan," he told the newspaper. "As athletic directors, we've talked about this too and the biggest challenge about dealing with visiting fans is people behave much better at home than when they're on the road."
Logan Athletic Director Theresa Schultheiss told the Times that 300 people attended the game and only two individuals, the arrested woman and the other woman with her, were "having issues with compliance."