NEW YORK - Responding to a story and video first reported by NY1 of a 22-year-old mother being wrestled to the ground by police and arrested, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday said it isn't right.
“It shouldn’t have gone down that way, period," De Blasio said, adding "We should never have a situation where a mom with her child ends up under arrest for that kind of offense. It’s just not right."
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The altercation was over coronavirus regulations and wearing a face mask.
It happened Wednesday morning at the Barclays Center subway station in Brooklyn. Police say the woman was not wearing her mask correctly.
“The officers did not accost her. They approached her professionally and asked her to put a mask on," said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.
He called it a bad situation, but says the woman flipped out. He said it‘s all on police body cameras as well.
"It is frustrating that that first interaction, 'Please put a mask on,' and it turned into statements made with terrible profanity, yelling and then, 'I’m going to cough on everyone,'" Shea told City Council members about what the woman said.
The police commissioner spoke at a Council hearing on the proposed NYPD budget, but most Council members wanted to focus on data showing racial disparities in enforcing social distancing rules.
According to the NYPD's own numbers two-thirds of those arrested for COVID-related offenses have been black. Several viral videos have shown officers arresting black New Yorkers in confrontations over coronavirus rules.
“This form of policing is going to spiral out of control. And while something that started like social distancing, we are going to have chaos in our streets this summer," said Brooklyn Councilwoman Laurie Cumbo.
The mayor and police commissioner said they don’t want COVID-19 rules to cause a bigger divide between officers and communities of color after the city worked hard in recent years to develop better relationships.
Speaking at his daily coronavirus briefing, the mayor added, "I want to put this on me and Commissioner Shea that we have to figure out how to strike that balance. We have to figure out a plan and a protocol that works."