A video shows two New York Police Department officers shoving a man out of a subway station after he asked them to wear face masks, as required by Covid-19 health policies in New York City, the man said Wednesday.
In the video posted to Twitter and verified by NBC News, a male officer grabs the man by his jacket on the subway platform in Manhattan and pushes him through an emergency exit as a female officer holds the door open.The male officer says the man was being “disruptive,” then the officers walk away as the man attempts to get their badge numbers. Neither officer was wearing a mask in the video. The video does not show what happened that led to the incident.
Andrew Gilbert, a 27-year-old commuter, said he was on his way to work Tuesday morning when he approached the two unmasked officers and requested that they cover up.
“I noticed these two officers standing there on the platform with no masks, as is fairly typical these days for the NYPD,” Gilbert wrote in a Twitter message to NBC News.
“I’ve taken to filming them whenever I see them doing this in the Subway, so I walked over and asked them why they weren’t masked. The male officer kept pretending he couldn’t hear what I was saying, he told me ‘I can’t hear you through your mask,’ etc,” Gilbert said.
“I kept asking them to follow the law and put a mask on, and the officer declared that I was being ‘disruptive’ and grabbed me and shoved me ~60 feet over to the emergency exit and slammed me through it. He yelled at me ‘if you’re not going to ride the train you can leave!’,” Gilbert wrote.Gilbert said he then exchanged information with the woman who recorded the video and left the station.
Masks are required for all people using Metropolitan Transportation Authority services in New York, except on outdoor train platforms and bus stops, and the NYPD requires that its officers use masks on public transportation.
Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea called the conduct in the video “absolutely inexcusable,” but said neither officer would be fired or suspended for the incident.
“But at the same time I am not, in any way shape or form, attempting to downplay that,” Shea said, adding that discipline has been “initiated.”
The NYPD declined to confirm whether there is an investigation of the officers and pointed to Shea’s statement.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said during his media briefing Wednesday that he had seen the video and expected there would be discipline because the officers were indeed unmasked.
“I was troubled by that video. I didn’t like what I saw one bit. I did not see everything, except for the clip at the time when the person’s being removed, but I saw the officers not wearing their masks in the subway. That’s evident, that’s unacceptable,” the mayor said.“The commissioner said many times, publicly, given the instructions, it’s up to supervisors to step up now. Just tell people — if you’re in the subway, we’re telling everyone in the subway, you got to wear a mask. That includes police officers, period.”
Watch the video below: