Coronavirus News: Mom arrested after subway confrontation over mask wants justice

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Tuesday, May 19, 2020
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A mother who was wrestled to the ground and arrested by NYC cops at a subway station in Brooklyn is speaking out and demanding justice.

DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN (WABC) -- The arrest of a mother who was wrestled to the ground by NYC cops for not wearing a mask last week has apparently changed city and police procedure.

NYC cops will no longer be allowed to arrest people for not wearing masks, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio, and there is now an outpouring of protest over the way she was treated.

Kaleemah Rozier, 22, of Brooklyn, stood with her attorney Tuesday and spoke out for the first time about the arrest last Wednesday inside the Barclays Center subway station.

She and her attorney say they are looking for justice.

"What the cops did to me was wrong," Rozier said. "It's very hurtful for me, because it was in front of my son, my 5 year-old son...like he was crying, I don't understand how they could do that in front of my son."

Six NYPD officers held her to the ground after she refused to properly wear a mask. Authorities say she cursed at them, threatened to cough on them and was told politely three times in front of her young son not to enter the subway without her mask properly pulled over her nose and mouth.

Despite it all, de Blasio said it should not have come to that.

"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," de Blasio said.

Rozier is now charged with misdemeanor resisting arrest. Her attorney asked the Brooklyn DA not to prosecute the case.

They said it's part of a larger problem with enforcement along racial lines -- the latest numbers from the NYPD reveal at least 374 summonses were issued regarding social distancing violations since mid-March: 193 of them were black and 111 were Hispanic.

"And while we urge all New Yorkers to social distance and to wear masks, it is not necessary to have what happened to this young victim -- 22 years old -- to happen to anyone else in the city," Rozier's attorney Sanford Rubenstein said.

They also are demanding that police officers not wearing masks face disciplinary action too.

A civil suit is also in the works.

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