A woman who refused to wear a face mask inside an Alabama Walmart and was body-slammed by an off-duty police officer after she became combative is facing multiple charges related to the Tuesday night incident.
A video of the encounter has circulated widely across multiple social media platforms. WIAT's version of the video with the profanity edited out can be seen here.
Birmingham Police Sgt. Rod Mauldin said in a Thursday video statement that the woman, who has not been identified, had been told by a store associate that she needed to wear a face covering on the premises due to the novel coronavirus pandemic sweeping the nation.
The woman then began yelling obscenities at employees and shoppers when the unidentified off-duty officer working as the store’s security guard intervened, Mauldin said.
When the woman refused to leave the store and continued to resist the officer, he “used a takedown measure to gain control,” Mauldin said, noting the woman was not arrested for refusing to wear a mask.
The woman was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, third-degree criminal trespass, possession of marijuana and unlawful possession of a controlled substance, AL.com reported.
“We understand we’re operating in trying times. The Birmingham Police Department has maintained a consistent, community-oriented educational approach to the surrounding circumstances of COVID-19,” Mauldin said in the video.
We are aware of a video circulating on social media and local news outlets depicting a recent interaction between an off-duty BPD officer and an individual at the Roebuck Walmart. The incident is under investigation. BPD would like to address the facts of the incident and resolve rumors and misinformation regarding the incident. The officer only attempted to contact the individual after hearing and witnessing the individual’s disorderly conduct stemming from an encounter with a Walmart employee. The individual was not charged with any violation of the face covering ordinance and BPD maintains an educational approach to the ordinance.Posted by Birmingham Police Department, Alabama on Thursday, May 7, 2020
The woman, who was not injured, refused medical treatment, and the police department's Internal Affairs Division is investigating the officer's actions, AL.com reported.