An off-duty cop in Alabama, who was working in security at Walmart, body slammed a customer who allegedly refused to wear a face mask. According to TMZ, the officer is now under investigation as a result of the incident.
The body slam happened on Tuesday, and was recorded and posted online. The video starts with a security guard struggling to detain the woman. Eventually, he lifts her from under her legs and slams her to the ground. A woman who witnessed the incident was clearly upset by it, and yelled at the guard not the slam her friend to the ground.
Following the release of the video online, an investigation was launched into the use of force by the officer. At the moment, Alabama’s stay-at-home order does not require that residents wear face masks while in public. Instead, the order recommends the use of face masks.
“Our records indicate we have not issued any citations or made arrests as it relates to the shelter in place ordinance or the face covering ordinance. We have made a valiant effort to gain voluntary compliance and we will continue to work cohesively with the community,” a statement from the Birmingham police department reads.
The statement also said that an investigation is standard in cases where force was used by an officer. It acknowledged that the department is operating under trying circumstances, but said that it has tried to engage with the community proactively on the measures deemed necessary to slow the spread of the coronavirus, according to WHNT.
The response to the video online was mixed. While some users thought that the guard’s treatment was harsh, others thought that the video had been misrepresented.
“Funny how this is the only part of the video shown. No context or anything. That’s called manipulation,” one user remarked.
“Yeah.. I avoid that Walmart like the plague that it is. Surely, there is more to this than not wearing a mask,” another user said.
The video surfaced as many areas of the country are beginning to relax their social distancing guidelines to some extent. As states begin to reopen, measures like face masks are likely to become optional in more places across the country. The guidelines around distancing have never been as harsh in the U.S. as they were in other parts of the world, where more prescriptive measures were taken to keep citizens in their homes.