Instead of “serve” and “protect,” these cops shove and eject!
Maskless NYPD cops pushed a rider out of an MTA subway station in Manhattan after he confronted the police for flouting the rules to wear a face covering Tuesday morning.
In a video captured by a fellow commuter, two officers grab and push the man through the emergency exit from the platform at the 8th Street station in Greenwich Village around 8:50 a.m. on Oct. 19.
The man in the video told amNewYork Metro he was on the way to work when he saw the unmasked cops at his stop, so he pulled out his phone and started filming, while asking them to comply with the rules and put on a face covering.
“The male officer was playing dumb and claimed he couldn’t hear me. I kept asking him over and over, ‘Do you know it’s illegal not to wear a mask,’” said Andrew Gilbert. “I kept asking him the same thing and then he said, ‘You’re being disruptive,’ which I guess is their key word for doing whatever they want if they declare you disruptive.”
Gilbert said the cop “just snapped” and ejected him out through the platform gate.
“He just walked into me, grabbed me and pushed me,” he said. “He grabbed me by the shirt and pushed me over to the emergency exit and slammed me through it, and was yelling at me how, ‘If you’re not going to ride the train you can get out.'”
— ekki spyrja mig að því (@toriahall) October 19, 2021
The fellow rider who filmed the incident saw Gilbert and the police arguing when she got off a W train.
“He was just trying to find out why the police were not putting their mask on and the police were just being hostile,” Victoria Hall, who filmed the kerfuffle and posted the footage on Twitter, told amNewYork Metro. “That’s not right.”
Hall said the officers’ behavior flew in the face of the very rules they’re supposed to enforce.
“When you’re on the train you hear non-stop announcements [about wearing masks]. And here you are with the police brazenly not even wearing it under the chin,” she said. “I was a bit shook up by the whole thing.”
After this story’s publication, the video drew ever-wider attention and condemnation on social media Tuesday afternoon, including by prominent MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes who tweeted:
“I find all of this just profoundly revealing. Makes the argument better than I ever could.”
I find all of this just profoundly revealing. Makes the argument better than I ever could. https://t.co/jfwMITc7Ps
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) October 19, 2021
Metropolitan Transportation Authority leaders have repeatedly pleaded with NYPD to be better at wearing masks on trains and indoor stations, as the agency requires of all its riders to stem the spread of COVID-19.
The NYPD and the MTA’s own Police Department can issue a $50 fine for riders who don’t comply with the mask rules.
Cops have been caught again and again not wearing the face coverings or donning them incorrectly in the transit system, as social media posts over the course of the pandemic have documented.
Masks are required on public transit pic.twitter.com/OTs1W82Csi
— gender rogers (@OfficialMaggieL) August 18, 2021
Gilbert said he regularly films cops and asks them to put on the masks, hoping to document their defiance of the mandate.
“Eighty percent of the time they make some lame excuse or put the mask on,” he said. “I really wish that we had a police department that was dedicated to public safety… They’re just standing there, doing nothing, spreading COVID, and flouting the rules as a show of force. They can just do what they want and there’s no accountability for it.”
Tuesday’s dustup happened on the same morning as MTA leaders handed out masks to riders at other transit stations as part of the agency’s monthly Mask Force campaign.
Our Mask Force volunteers are out in the system today handing out pink masks in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Interim Transit President Craig Cipriano joined in at Times Sq this morning too!
Give them a wave if you see them and grab a pink mask if you need one. pic.twitter.com/WtqyjDnnxj
— MTA. Wear a Mask. Stop the Spread. (@MTA) October 19, 2021
“I hope by helping to collect that [footage] that one day with a better political environment there’ll be accountability,” Gilbert said.
A senior MTA spokesperson declined to comment on NYPD’s conduct but urged everyone in public transit to mask up.
“I cannot speak for the way the NYPD addresses its officers when they are found to violate rules,” said Tim Minton. “We anticipate that anyone who is in public transit will wear a mask for the safety of themselves, fellow New Yorkers, and transit workers.”
NYPD’s press office did not respond to a request for comment.