New York City Backs Off From Face Mask Enforcement After Controversial Video Emerges

May 16, 2020 Updated: May 17, 2020

New York City announced May 15 that the police department will no longer enforce face-covering rules in most circumstances after a video posted on social media caused community outrage.

Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, issued the statement during his daily press briefing on the CCP virus outbreak.

NYPD (New York City Police Department) will continue to enforce ban on nonessential gatherings, prioritizing dispersing groups of 6-plus adults,” the statement reads. “Absent a serious danger to the public, NYPD will not take enforcement action for failing to wear face covering.”

The decision came after a controversial video was posted showing a woman being taken to the ground and handcuffed by police officers.

A child with the woman was standing nearby and witnessed the incident.

The incident happened May 13 inside the Atlantic Avenue/Barclays Center subway station in Brooklyn, WABC-TV reported.

NYPD Subway arrest
NYPD officers arrest woman in a subway station for allegedly striking officer after she didn’t wear a face mask as required on May 13, authorities say. (Courtesy Anthony Davis via CNN)

In the video, the woman is seen talking to officers on the steps inside a subway station. She has a mask around her neck, but not over her nose and mouth. She is escorted up the steps by several officers and can be heard raising her voice.

She is briefly off-camera before she appears to strike an officer, yelling, “Do not touch me!” after an officer reached for her. She is then taken to the ground and arrested.

“She got a kid with her,” a bystander can be heard saying during the arrest. “That’s too much.”

The NYPD said in a statement that its officers approached the woman before her arrest and “politely informed her” that she couldn’t enter the subway system without properly wearing a face mask.

Police said the woman “responded to the officers with vulgar language and repeatedly refused requests to properly wear her face covering over her nose and mouth,” before the officers told her she would be escorted from the transit system for not complying.

The NYPD also said its officers told the woman, “Do not do this in front of your kid, ma’am,” before she allegedly struck an officer with her hand.

“As a result of these actions, she was taken into custody and placed under arrest. 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,” the NYPD said.

The Epoch Times cannot confirm what happened before the start of the video.

The 22-year-old woman was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and harassment, according to WABC-TV. She was given a ticket to appear in court at a later date, the NYPD said.

Community activists rallied at the Barclays Center on May 15 after the video emerged, local media outlet News 12 reported.

The video also caused a wave of outrage on social media.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) shared the video on his Twitter account and said the incident should horrify elected officials.

“NY’s elected officials should be horrified that this is how their edicts are being enforced. Protect public health, yes, maybe even temporarily close the subways,” he wrote. “But don’t throw Moms with small children on the ground & handcuff them.”

The CNN Wire contributed to this report.

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