NYPD is facing backlash over a video making its rounds on social media that shows cops arresting a 22-year-old mother in front of her child because police say she was not wearing her mask properly.
The incident occurred on Wednesday inside the Atlantic Avenue/Barclays Center subway station. According to police, they were handing out masks when they encountered Kaleemah Rozier, who they say had a mask around her neck. Police say Rozier immediately became belligerent when asked to put her mask on properly.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said the officers were polite and informed the woman she could not enter the transit system without properly wearing her mask, at which point she allegedly responded with a profanity-laced tirade that included threats to “cough on all of you.”
According to Shea, the woman was escorted from the station twice but she reentered via another staircase. On the third encounter Rozier tried to pull away and struck one of the officers, Shea said.
She was placed under arrest and charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and harassment
Mayor Bill de Blasio admitted Thursday that social distancing enforcement is causing profound problems for police.
“It shouldn’t have gone down that way, period,” he said. “Does not respect our values. It’s not what will we want to see in the city.”
“To say the least, whatever else was going on in that video, whatever else was happening in that moment, we should never have a situation where a mom with her child ends up under arrest for that kind of offense,” de Blasio said. “It’s just not right.”
Police insisted the officers acted properly, and that the woman’s behavior led to her arrest.
“We are confident that the police officers in this incident acted appropriately and with respect,” the department said. “This individual was arrested only after her behavior toward officers warranted police action.”
Still, City Council Speaker Corey Johnson called for social distancing enforcement to be the responsibility of another agency.