After a video of a mother being pinned to the ground and handcuffed by New York City Police Department officers in front of her child went viral, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has decided to change the rules around enforcing that masks be worn in public. According to reports, NYPD officers will no longer enforce that a mask be worn while in public.
“Absent a serious danger to the public, NYPD will not take enforcement action for failing to wear face mask covering,” Mayor de Blasio said according to NBC. “NYPD will continue to enforce the ban on non-essential gatherings, prioritizing dispersing groups of six-plus adults.”
The video of Kameelah Rozier shows four officers tackling her to the ground and placing her in handcuffs in front of her young child after officers approached her about her and her son not wearing their masks properly. The NYPD released a statement saying that the 22-year-old mother “repeatedly refused requests to properly wear her face covering over her nose and mouth.” Despite backlash and criticism, the NYPD feels that officers acted “appropriately and with respect.”
“Face coverings are important to protect everybody — they’re not optional.,” the mayor tweeted at the time the video surfaced last week. “But no one wants to see an interaction turn into this. We’ve made progress with de-escalation. This isn’t it.”
NYPD officers have also been accused of enforcing mask-wearing and adherence to social distancing guidelines more often in black communities. There have been videos circulating the internet of police patrolling black neighborhoods and forcing people into their homes while white people were able to gather and blatantly violate social distancing orders in Brooklyn’s Domino Park earlier this month without any interference from officers. NBC reports that 374 summons were issued from March 16th to May 5th and 81 percent were given to blacks and Hispanics.