NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — A mother's arrest for not properly wearing a mask in a Brooklyn subway station has triggered a change in NYPD policy.
New York City officers will no longer arrest those who are not wearing masks after the takedown of 22-year-old Kaleemah Rozier in the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway station was caught on video last week.
"It's very hurtful for me because it was in front of my son, my 5-year-old son, like, he was crying," said Rozier, who is speaking out for the first time about the incident in which six officers are seen wrestling her to the ground and handcuffing her. "I don't understand how could they do that in front of my son."
The video shows Rozier with a mask around her neck, not covering her face.
Authorities say the offices politely asked and Rozier refused to pull her mask over her nose and mouth and threatened to cough on the officers, but Mayor Bill de Blasio says there is no excuse for the takedown.
"Whatever else was happening in that moment, it's just not right," he said last week.
Police said as the woman was being escorted out of the station, she slapped an officer’s hand away, leading to several officers forcing the woman to the ground and handcuffing her.
Rozier was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and harassment. Her attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, is asking the Brooklyn district attorney to drop the charges.
"It is not necessary to have what happened to this young victim to happen to anyone else in the city," Rubenstein said.
He plans to file a civil suit on Rozier's behalf against the city and police.
The altercation is part of a broader controversy over data showing a racial disparity over the NYPD’s social distancing enforcement. Several other videos have shown intense altercations and arrests in the city in recent weeks, which have sparked protests in minority communities since the start of the pandemic.