VIDEO: Woman Arrested In Confrontation With NYPD Over Face Mask

WCBS 880 Newsroom
May 14, 2020 - 10:42 am

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    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – A scuffle broke out between NYPD officers and a woman with a child who police say refused to properly wear a mask in the subway before slapping an officer as she was being escorted out of a Brooklyn station.

    The video, taken at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center station, shows the woman with a mask around her neck, not covering her face.

    Police reportedly tried to kick her out of the station over the face covering. In the video, she can be heard yelling as the officers surround her.

    “Don't touch me,” she says at one point.

    As the woman was being escorted out of the station, police said she slapped an officer’s hand away.

    That led to several officers forcing the woman to the ground and handcuffing her.

    "She's got a kid with her," one bystander can be heard saying in the video. "That’s too much."

    Police identified the woman as Kaleemah Rozier. She was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and harassment.

    The NYPD told the New York Post that Rozier was arrested for slapping the officer, not because of the issue with her mask.

    “This individual was arrested only after her behavior toward officers warranted police action,” Sergeant Jessica McRorie, an NYPD spokesperson, said.

    Video of the encounter prompted a response from Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday night.

    He further addressed the situation at his daily briefing Thursday.

    "Like every human situation there are complexities, but what was not complex at all was it shouldn't have gone down that way, period. It does not reflect our values. It's not what we want to see in this city," de Blasio said. "It's painful for everyone involved, no New Yorkers want to see something like that. For us it is painful because it means something is still not working the way we need it to and, 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. It's just not right."

    He went on to say that "If you look at the whole story, unfortunately there are problems in the whole thing, including, I want to remind everyone, no one should be disrespectful to police officers, no one should ignore the instructions of police officers particularly when they're trying to protect people's safety and trying to do something for the health and safety for all of us."

    The mayor said the public and police have to work together "to try and get everyone to play their role respectfully of each other."

    He said enforcement to needs to done with a light touch and while that overwhelmingly has been the case, there's still more work to do.

    "We have to do better. It's my responsibility and the commissioner's responsibility to find that path forward and we will," de Blasio said. "I want the day to come when there are no such videos, when people can really have faith in each other and that's what we will strive for and we will work on that every single day."

    The altercation is part of a broader controversy over data showing a racial disparity over the NYPD’s social distancing enforcement. Several other videos have shown intense altercations and arrests in the city in recent weeks.

    “Face coverings are important to protect everybody — they’re not optional. But no one wants to see an interaction turn into this,” de Blasio tweeted. “We’ve made progress with de-escalation. This isn’t it.”

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