VIDEO: Mayor Backs Woman Arrested After Fighting Cops Who Asked Her To Wear Mask
Brooklyn, NY – A woman who fought with police and threatened to cough on them after they asked her to wear her mask properly on the subway said she wants “justice” for having been arrested in front of her five-year-old child (video below).
The woman, 22-year-old Kaleemah Rozier, immediately launched into a vulgar tirade when NYPD officers handing out masks at the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway station politely asked her to wear her mask properly at approximately 11:50 p.m. on May 13, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told WPIX.
“I’m gonna cough on all of you!” she declared at one point, according to police.
Rozier, who had her young son with her, was then asked to leave the station due to her disorderly behavior, WPIX reported.
Officers escorted her out of the station, but she snuck back in down another staircase.
As the officers were escorting her out for the second time, Rozier attempted to pull away and hit one of the officers, Commissioner Shea said.
Cell phone footage captured the moment that the irate woman was taken to the ground by a group of NYPD officers.
“Naw, she’s got her kid with her,” one onlooker said. “That’s too much, man.”
Rozier’s vulgar tirade continued as she was placed in handcuffs, the video showed.
“I cannot breathe!” she screamed at one point.
Commissioner Shea said that bodycam footage showed Rozier as she apologized to the officers and told them she has been “under a lot of stress with other issues in her life and she was frustrated,” WPIX reported.
She has since been charged with resisting arrest, but was initially released on a desk appearance ticket.
Cell phone footage of Rozier’s arrest has gone viral, prompting New York Mayor Bill de Blasio to publicly criticize police for enforcing the mandatory face-covering rule.
“Face coverings are important to protect everybody – they’re not optional,” de Blasio confirmed in a tweet. “But no one wants to see an interaction turn into this. We’ve made progress with de-escalation. This isn’t it.”
The mayor subsequently changed police and city procedure, and is now prohibiting officers from arresting citizens who refuse to wear masks, WABC reported.
However, the woman wasn't arrested for not wearing a mask.
On Tuesday, Rozier and her attorney held a press conference to complain about how she was victimized by the NYPD.
"What the cops did to me was wrong," Rozier declared. "It's very hurtful for me, because it was in front of my son, my five-year-old son...like he was crying. I don't understand how they could do that in front of my son."
Rozier claimed that the altercation left her with injuries to her back, knee and neck, Spectrum News reported.
She said that she wants justice, and that the charge against her should be dropped, according to WABC.
Rozier said she also plans to file a civil lawsuit against the department and the city.
"It is not necessary to have what happened to this young victim to happen to anyone else in the city," said her attorney, Sanford Rubenstein, according to WCBS.
De Blasio doubled-down on his assertion that the NYPD was to blame for the situation, WABC reported.
"Whatever else was happening in that moment, we should never have a situation when a mom with her child ends up under arrest for that kind of offense -- it's just not right," the mayor opined.
The NYPD is backing the officers who arrested Rozier.
“We are confident that the police officers in this incident acted appropriately and with respect,” the NYPD said in a statement to WPIX. “This individual was arrested only after her behavior toward officers warranted police action."
Watch the incident unfold in the video below. Warning - Graphic Content and Obscene Language: