It took five NYPD cops to take down a 22-year-old mother for not wearing a face mask inside a Brooklyn subway station as a sixth cop held her little boy who watched in horror as they piled on top of her, each of them grabbing a limb while driving their knees into her back as she screamed out in pain.
The incident was caught on video Wednesday by witnesses who criticized the cops for their aggressive behavior, especially considering she was accompanied by a boy who appeared no older than five.
The video shows the mother, Kaleemah Rozier, was wearing a face mask around her neck but it wasn’t covering her face and mouth as mandated by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order signed on April 17 which was not supposed to be enforced so aggressively.
“You’re not going to go to jail for not wearing a mask,” Cuoma assured the public during the press conference last month when signing the executive order, according to the New York Times.
But as usual, the NYPD is playing by its own rules, having already made 125 coronavirus-related arrests since March with 66 percent of those arrests made on black people even though black people make up 24 percent of the city’s population. The NYPD has tried to justify those arrests by claiming there were other factors involved such as a bottle of booze in one case and a marijuana joint in the other – in addition to the initial infraction of not wearing a mask or not practicing social distancing, according to Spectrum News.
But they neglected to say that marijuana has been decriminalized in New York City since last year so there was no need to make any arrests over small amounts of weed. And public drinking was decriminalized in 2016, but only in Manhattan, allowing cops to continue making these arrests in the outer boroughs where minorities are the majority which is pretty much how they enforce minor crimes anyway.
But to continue making those low level arrests at a time when the jails are infested with COVID-19 shows a lack of empathy and common sense that is so prevalent with cops these days. Many of these cops have not even been wearing face masks themselves as they arrest others for not practicing safe coronavirus habits, creating their own rules, daring anybody to challenge them.
The latest incident shows the cops exerting their typical pack dog aggression as they surround and stalk the mother and child making their way up some stairs, pouncing on her after one of the cops shoves her.
The NYPD tried to justify the arrest by claiming she not only refused a mask they had offered as she entered the station but that she cursed at the officers and threatened to cough on them upon entry, making them fear for their lives.
Rozier admits to the coughing remark but said she made it after they had been following and hounding her throughout the station, not immediately after walking into the station as police insinuated. She also said she had pulled down her mask because she was on the phone when entering the station.
It appears the cops were angered because she had breezed past them without acknowledging their authority.
The video went viral and got the attention of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who took to Twitter and called for the NYPD to practice de-escalation techniques instead of resorting to the usual pain compliance protocols.
Two days later, the mayor announced an end to such arrests, saying “it does not reflect our values,” a move that was even celebrated by the police union who had already complained about having to place themselves in danger to enforce petty crimes. Otherwise, they probably would have continued making the arrests.
According to the New York Daily News:
The encounter began with cops offering her a mask at the Atlantic Ave.-Barclay Center subway station about 11:50 a.m. Wednesday, he said. The woman was with her son when the incident occurred.
“(The cops) are immediately met with profanity-laced cursing, where she makes a statement, ‘I’m going to cough on all of you,’” (NYPD Commissioner Dermot) Shea told Ch. 11/WPIX news. “And she was (initially) not issued a summons. She was not arrested. She was asked to leave the station.”
Rozier told The News that when the cops encountered her, she had pulled down her mask down to use her cell phone.
“They wanted me to put the mask over my face, and I was on the phone,” Rozier said. “I just kept walking. They followed me and that’s when people started recording.”
She disputed Shea’s statement that she started cursing and threatened to cough on the officers immediately. “I didn’t just come out of nowhere being irate and I was arguing with them. I didn’t do that.”
The Daily News went on to say that Rozier was taken down after “an officer had his hand on her shoulder” and “she smacked the officer’s arm away.”
NBC New York also said the same.
Rozier can be heard yelling and cursing at the officers in the video as she was being escorted out of the subway station. She and some of the officers were off-camera when she screamed, “Don’t touch me.”
The video then showed Rozier slapping away one of the officers’ hands, and that’s when officers moved in, took her to the ground and placed her in handcuffs.
But the video shows the cop shoves her, forcing her back, which prompted her to yell, “do not touch me!” which is when she is taken down. It did appear as if she tried to slap his hand away but it’s not clear if she even made contact.
But what is clear is that the cops were already moving in to pounce on her after the cop shoved her. Her arrest had nothing to do with the possibility she may have touched the cop’s hand after he shoved her and everything to do with her not bowing down to their badge.
Rozier was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and harassment. Watch the video above or below. We’ve slowed that portion down at the end of the clip to get your input as to whether she did slap his hand away or not.