Video that appears to show a Birmingham, Alabama police officer using a "take-down" movie on a woman in a Walmart after she refused to wear a facemask has gone viral. The video was filmed on Tuesday and the woman in the video has not been identified. The Birmingham police said the woman was taken into custody and is also facing charges for resisting arrest and possession of marijuana.
The video gained attention on social media, as the woman reportedly refused to wear a facemask. However, Birmingham Police Sgt. Rod Mauldin said in a statement Thursday an officer confronted the woman because she was causing an incident in the store. He body-slammed the woman after she began resisting arrest and due to "other threat factors," Maudlin said, reports WIAT. Women who said they were family members of the woman said she was leaving the store when the move was used, although that is not clear from the video shown by the network.
"The reason for the officers contact was disorderly contact and not just a mere violation of a face covering ordinance," Maudlin explained. "We understand we are operating in trying times. The Birmingham Police Department has maintained a consistent, community-driven, educational approach to the surrounding circumstances of COVID-19."
The woman was charged with marijuana possession, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, criminal trespassing in the third degree, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Maudlin said the woman will not face any citations related to violating Birmingham's face-covering ordinance. The department is also investigating to determine if the office was using excessive force in the incident.
There have been several incidents of violence connected to face masks ordinances put in place to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. In Flint, Michigan, Family Dollar security guard Calvin Munerlyn was shot and killed after he got into a dispute with Sharmel Teague, whose daughter was not wearing a face mask. Teague left the store and called her husband, Larry Teague, who returned to the store with her son, Ramonyea Bishop. After another confrontation, Bishop allegedly shot Munerlyn, who died at a hospital. Police and the U.S. Marshals are now searching for Bishop and Larry Teague. Bishop, Larry Teague and Teague have all been charged in Munerlyn's death, and Teague was arraigned on Tuesday, reports the Detroit Free Press.
A GoFundMe page was set up to support Munerlyn's family. The goal was set at $10,000, but more than $380,000 has already been raised. "Duper was a hard-working, father and husband who lost his life while doing his job securing the place of business and asking all customers to wear a mask for our own safety as well as others," the page reads. "He leaves behind 8 amazing kids, a super loving wife, & his wonderful mother."