Early on in the pandemic “lockdowns” it was sadly an all too familiar scene to see people getting arrested over standoffs that ensued when patrons of businesses refused to wear a mask. But in Texas despite Governor Greg Abbott having lifted the mask mandate and opened the state back up “100%” it’s still happening, apparently.
The mask mandate was lifted statewide on March 10, but the very next day on Thursday a 65-year old Texas woman found herself being tackled to the ground by police after being told by a Galveston Bank of America branch to mask up.
Abbott had left it up to businesses or any premises on private property to decide if they want to require masks or not. The Republican governor explained in his announcement early this month, “If businesses don’t feel safe opening, they should not be required to.” Here’s what happen when the woman in Galveston defied the bank’s mask order on Thursday…
Galveston police were called to the scene after the woman refused to conform when asked by bank staff, after which officer body cam video caught the intense exchange:
“Ma’am, if they ask you to leave, you have to leave,” the officer says in bodycam video.
“My money is in this bank, and I’m going to take it out,” she replies.
“Well then you have to abide by their rules,” the officer answered.
In many cases Texans in the few days since the mask requirement was lifted have been flaunting the the social distancing measures and mask-up restrictions of private businesses while citing Gov. Abbott’s order.
This has led to continued encounters like the one in the police-cam video:
“Businesses have the right to refuse service even if you’re not wearing a mask,” the officer explains. “You need to go and get a mask and then take your money out.”
She continues to protest, and the officer tells her “we’re gonna do this the easy way or the hard way.”
“What are you gonna do, arrest me?” she replies.
“Yes, for intruding on premises,” he says.
After some more back and forth, the officer adds, “This is not a public place. This is a private business.”
The elderly woman then cried out, hoping that other customers would come to her defense, “Back up, back up! An old lady is getting arrested here!”
She later recounted in an interview with FOX-26 Houston that she was simply there to close her account, and that she couldn’t enter the drive-thru due to driving a large vehicle. “Ma’am you have to leave…,” the bank staff told her upon entering. “I just want to close my account, I’m gonna get my money and then I’ll leave. I can’t got through the drive-thru, I’m pulling the rig.”
“Wow, not wearing a mask people… this is what they do to ya!” she’s later heard exclaiming in the parking lot while handcuffed as police backup arrives.
The woman, identified in multiple reports as Terry White, later calls the other customers in the bank – who appear to be supportive of the officer’s move to arrest her – a “bunch of sheep”.
Police issued an arrest warrant based on “trespassing” given the bank had asked her to leave over the mask compliance issue.
Meanwhile, the city of Austin is actually fighting to keep the public mask mandate in place…
— KXAN News (@KXAN_News) March 12, 2021
She further lambasted the police as “taking away people’s human rights” before being led away. Local reports say she was taken to a hospital for an injury to her foot sustained in the scuffle with police.