Video shows unmasked NYPD officer push masked commuter out of subway station

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 1:43 PM CDT
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NEW YORK (WCBS) – A viral video has caused an internal investigation at the New York City Police Department.

It shows an unmasked officer pushing a masked commuter out of a subway station.

Face coverings are required in the public transit system citywide, but the commuter in the video said when he asked two officers to put on masks, things quickly escalated.

The cellphone video taken Tuesday morning shows one of the unmasked NYPD officers pushing masked commuter Andy Gilbert out of the Eighth Street subway station and closing the emergency exit door.

As the officer walks away, he’s heard saying: “You’re being disruptive.”

“Is it appropriate for officers to physically assault someone and throw them out of a station for asking them to follow the law? I would say no,” Gilbert said.

Gilbert said he got off the W train around 8 a.m. and saw two unmasked police officers on the platform, a sight he said is common on his commute.

“I just take my phone out and I’ll, like, you know, politely ask them, ‘Hey, can you just, you know, follow the rules like everyone else and wear a mask?’” he said. “The male officer there basically was playing dumb and pretending he couldn’t hear what I said. You know, he was saying, ‘Oh, I can’t hear you with your mask on.’”

Gilbert said he continued asking them from a distance to cover up.

“He grabbed me by the collar and just started shoving me out of the station,” he said.

Gilbert said his behavior toward the officers before the video started recording did not justify him getting pushed out of the station.

“No, I didn’t touch them or get near them,” he said.

Last month, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority began issuing $50 fines to anyone in the subway system without a face covering.

“Openly flouting the law just sort of breeds disrespect for the law,” Gilbert said.

At the start of this month, 68% of the NYPD’s workforce was vaccinated, compared to 76% of adult New Yorkers overall.

Back in August, the NYPD issued a departmentwide memo reading in part: “All members, regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status, must wear a face covering … when interacting with members of the public” and while present in “public transit.”

“The police commissioner said he was going to address this, and obviously Commissioner Shea has not addressed this fully,” said Charlton D’Souza, president of the advocacy group Passengers United.

Some politicians have also weighed in on the video.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman tweeted: “For the last two years we’ve seen NYPD officers act as if they are above the law and the laws of science by refusing to wear masks on the subway.”

An MTA spokesman said: “It’s up to the NYPD how to address allegations that its officers have violated rules.”

“It’s a clear sign to me that they don’t respect the rules,” Gilbert said. “They think they’re above the rules.”

Gilbert said he would like to see police officers get the same $50 fine that any other unmasked rider may receive.

An NYPD spokesman said that the department is aware of the video and that the incident is under internal review.

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