What to Know
- Two unmasked NYPD cops shoved and forcefully removed an apparent straphanger out of a New York City subway station Tuesday after he allegedly asked them why they weren’t wearing masks.
- There is a rule that requires people to cover their faces in mass transit stations and on public transportation and one that the city has been enforcing.
- Although the alleged incident was captured in what is now a viral video and shows the forceful removal of the straphanger, it doesn’t show the confrontation that led up to that incident.
Two unmasked NYPD cops shoved and forcefully removed an apparent straphanger out of a New York City subway station Tuesday after he allegedly asked them why they weren’t wearing masks -- a rule that requires people to cover their faces in mass transit stations and on public transportation and one that the city has been enforcing.
A video posted on Twitter shows one of the officers pushing the apparent subway rider toward the gate while another officer pushes the gate open to force the person out of the platform.
Although the video captured the forceful removal of the straphanger, it doesn’t show the confrontation that led up to that incident.
According to the NYPD, the incident is under review. The two officers have been sanctioned and could lose up to 10 vacation days, according to the New York Daily News.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also touched upon the incident during his daily press briefing Wednesday, saying he "was troubled by thevideo."
"I didn’t like what I saw one bit. I did not see everything except for the clip at the time when the person was being removed. But, I saw the officers not wearing their masks on the subway. That is evident. That is unacceptable," the mayor said.
De Blasio added that law enforcement needs to also follow the law and expects the officers to be disciplined.
"We’ve given this instruction a thousand times, if you are going to be in law enforcement you are actually going to participate in following the law. So I would say, we know in this case, the most recent video, there is an investigation underway. I expect there would be discipline in that case because it’s obvious that they were not wearing their masks," he said. "[NYPD] Commissioner [Dermot Shea] has said many times publicly, given the instructions, it’s up to supervisors to step up now."
"We are telling everyone in the subways 'you gotta wear a mask' that includes police officers. Period."
De Blasio's public comments to the video comes on the same day he expanded the city's COVID-19 vaccine mandate to all public employees with no test-out option.
Deadlines are different for the NYPD and FDNY versus corrections officers, but the message is the same, according to the mayor's office: Those who serve the community must take responsibility to protect the people within it and themselves.
Effective immediately, city employees will receive $500 in their paychecks if they get their first shot at a city-run vaccination site, according to the mayor's office.
The new rules affect more than 160,000 workers (including police, firefighters and correctional officers), 70% of whom already had at least one shot. The NYPD's largest union already warned it will take legal action to block the mandate, while the FDNY-Uniformed Firefighters Association plans a media briefing later Wednesday.
Nearly 45% of FDNY firefighters are unvaccinated, the union president said.
De Blasio has said those who serve the city also have a responsibility to protect the people and communities within it from all scourges, COVID-19 included.
Under an executive order signed by the mayor last month, NYPD officers must either be vaccinated or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test each week but the new order expected to become official later Wednesday means about 20,000 unvaccinated officers must get at least one dose by 5 p.m. on Oct. 29 or be placed on unpaid leave, officials said.
The NYPD has about 34,500 uniformed personnel and about 17,700 people in non-uniformed support positions. It had a vaccination rate of 61% last month, but that number increased to 68% in less than two weeks, according to NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea.
The mandate goes into effect on December 1 for uniformed members of the Department of Corrections.
The two commissioners who oversee the largest police and fire departments in the U.S. have already said earlier this month that they support the mandate for the members of their respective departments. Shea had even made impassioned pleas to officers in a video message, urging them to get inoculated.
During his press conference, when asked about the vaccine mandate impacting the polica and the PBA's legal threat to the directive, the mayor said: "When everyone is vaccinated, it’s going to make everything easier for everyone. I just think, we saw this in the schools, we saw this in the hospitals, when everyone is vaccinated it creates a sense of equality, fairness, safety that just benefits everyone, benefits the whole atmosphere. We’ve all been through a lot the past year and a half, we need to sort of start the process of healing. I think everyone being vaccinated is part of that. So I feel good about that.