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NYPD Officers Eject Commuter Who Asked Them to Wear Masks

Mayor says their behavior was 'unacceptable'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2021 4:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – A New York City commuter says two NYPD officers kicked him out of a subway station Tuesday morning after he asked them to obey the rules and put their face masks on. Andrew Gilbert tells CBS New York that after he saw officers on a platform and asked them to put their masks on, "the male officer there basically was playing dumb and pretending he couldn’t hear what I said. You know, he was saying, 'Oh, I can’t hear you with your mask on.'" He says the officer then grabbed him by the jacket, pushed him around 80 feet backward, and shoved him out of an emergency exit door at the Eighth Street station in Manhattan. Gilbert says he didn't touch the officers or do anything else to justify being pushed.

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Video of the confrontation was shared widely on social media. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority requires masks to be worn in subway stations and the NYPD requires officers to wear face coverings in public transit settings, though many commuters have complained about officers flouting the rules, the New York Times reports. "It's an endless stream of incidents like this and every single time it’s sort of the same thing," Gilbert tells the Times. "Politicians talk about how terrible it is and then nothing happens, there’s no follow-up." He says officers' refusal to follow the same rules as everybody else "sort of breeds disrespect for the law."

But this time, there will be consequences, the New York Daily News reports. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Wednesday that the two officers will receive command disciplines, which could cost them up to 10 vacation days. Earlier Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio said what he saw in the video was troubling. He said he hadn't seen the lead-up to the confrontation, "but I saw the officers not wearing their masks in the subway, that’s evident. That’s unacceptable." He added: "We’ve given this instruction a thousand times: If you’re going to be in law enforcement, you actually have to participate in following the law." (Read more New York City stories.)

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