Surely there is a reasonable medium between brutalizing black people for not properly adhering to COVID-19 related measures and courteously handing out masks to white people who are decidedly not observing social distancing rules?
The NYPD hasn’t seemed to find that medium yet, but New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is now suggesting that they will. On Friday he announced that police in the city will no longer be enforcing the order for people to wear masks, although it came with a caveat.
From NBC News:
“Absent a serious danger to the public, NYPD will not take enforcement action for failing to wear face mask covering,” the mayor said. “NYPD will continue to enforce the ban on non-essential gatherings, prioritizing dispersing groups of six-plus adults.”
Earlier in the week De Blasio responded to a video on Twitter that shows a group of NYPD officers arresting a black mother and forcing her face to the ground of a dirty subway for not properly donning the mask she seemed to be wearing:
Despite Mayor De Blasio’s milquetoast criticism and black people’s exhaustion from viral videos of us being treated less than human, the NYPD says that their officers acted “appropriately and with respect ” in arresting the woman in front of her child.
“She responded to the officers with vulgar language and repeatedly refused requests to properly wear her face covering over her nose and mouth,” the NYPD said.
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.
De Blasio’s new guidance came a day after he said he was “not going to sideline the NYPD” despite data showing clear racial disparities in their enforcement of social distancing rules, reported AP News.
It remains to be seen if cops in New York City will be able to distinguish between “serious danger to the public” and “existing while black,” since data shows they’ve already spent most of the pandemic disproportionately targeting black people with policing that has frequently been violent.