The unmasked police officers who shoved an MTA subway rider out of a station Tuesday for asking them to put on a mask, in a story that amNewYork Metro first reported, will likely face discipline, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.
“I was troubled by that video. I didn’t like what I saw one bit,” he said during his Oct. 20 press briefing. “We’ve given this instruction a thousand times. And if you’re gonna be in law enforcement, you actually have to participate in following the law.”
Hizzoner said that the matter is currently under investigation, and that he expects the officers involved will face sanctions for their actions. He noted that while he couldn’t say for sure what had gone down based on the video clip, it was evident they weren’t wearing masks, which he called “unacceptable.”
“There’s an investigation underway,” the mayor said. “I expect there will be discipline in that cause, because it’s obvious that they were not wearing their masks.”
Police spokesperson Detective Sophia Mason confirmed that the incident is under internal review.
Two officers ejected straphanger Andrew Gilbert out of the 8th Street station in Manhattan around 8:50 a.m. on Oct. 19, which was caught on video by a fellow rider.
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Gilbert said he asked the officers to put on a mask after he got off his train, but that the male officer “played dumb” saying he couldn’t hear him through his mask.
After repeating his demand several times, the Boy in Blue “just snapped” and booted him out the emergency gate of the Downtown station.
The MTA requires everyone in the system wear a face covering while on a train or in an underground station, but police officers have routinely been seen flouting the mandate throughout the pandemic despite the MTA’s pleas for them to mask up. The transit authority last month stepped up efforts to ensure mask compliance in the system, stating unequivocally that riders could be removed from the system and fined $50 for failing to do so, though enforcement has been inconsistent.
At the briefing, the mayor punted the enforcement of mask compliance to supervisors, arguing that he and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea had been clear on the rules — and that police officers should follow them, too.
“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’ve got to wear masks,” de Blasio said. “That includes police officers, period.”
A police spokesperson declined to comment on how the NYPD is ensuring mask compliance among its members in the subway.