Video footage of a police officer slamming a black woman to the ground over her failure to wear a face mask in a Birmingham, Ala., Walmart on Tuesday has been shared on social media thousands of times, and now authorities are investigating the incident.
According to AL.com, the altercation happened while the off-duty officer was working as a security guard at a Walmart in Roebuck. He was attempting to handcuff a woman for failure to wear a mask after she reportedly did not comply with his orders.
The officer is seen struggling to handcuff the woman when he suddenly lifts her up into the air, flips her and violently slams her to the ground as a gathered crowd responds in shock.
Birmingham police spokesman Sgt. Rod Mauldin released a statement assuring the public the incident was put under immediate investigation
“The same day the interaction occurred immediate actions were taken for the sake of public trust and transparency,” the statement said. “A preliminary investigation consistent with the Birmingham Police Department reportable use of force protocols were immediately initiated and investigators of the Internal Affairs Division are conducting an investigation. This protocol applies for all use of force incidents that occur within the Birmingham Police Department.”
This incident comes just days after other videos have gone viral showing NYPD officers violently arresting black people for violating social distancing guidelines, highlighting racial disparities in how police respond to violators. The videos were contrasted with images of white people in city parks also violating guidelines but being handed face masks to wear by police instead of being...for example...body slammed.
Anyway, Mauldin ended his statement lauding the job the Birmingham Police Department has been doing in enforcing safety guidelines during the pandemic.
“We understand we are operating in trying times. The Birmingham Police Department has maintained a consistent community oriented educational approach to the surrounding circumstances of Covid-19. As a department, we have been successful in our efforts to gain compliance and cooperation from the vast majority of citizens in Birmingham. Our records indicate, we have not issued any citations or made arrests as it relates to the shelter in place ordinance or the face-covering ordinance. We have made a valiant effort to gain voluntary compliance and we will continue to work cohesively with the community.”