NEW YORK (WPIX/CNN) - A video shows NYPD officers wrestling a mother to the ground while her young daughter watched.
It all began because the woman wasn’t wearing her mask. Police say the confrontation was her fault.
"It shouldn’t have gone down that way, period. It does not reflect our values. It’s not what we want to see in the city,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The video shows a 22-year old-woman entering the subway with her small child Thursday night.
Police approached the woman for not properly wearing her mask, which she wore around her neck, as seen in the video. Words were exchanged before things escalated to violence, according to police.
And the woman’s little girl stood nearby, watching the entire time.
New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea says this all could have been avoided and that the mother gave officers a problem from the beginning. He says she was first asked to leave the subway several times but came back, which is where the video begins.
“They approach the woman and ask her … and ask her to please put on your mask on. And that's how they said it. It's on body cam,” Shea said. “They are immediately met with profanity-laced cursing and when she makes a statement, 'I'm going to cough on all of you.'”
But even if that was the case, retired NYPD deputy inspector Corey Pegues says the officers were wrong.
“The only person that's getting training in every one of these instances are the cops. So, my expectation as a former executive and leader is the cops have to take the high road,” Pegues said.
The New York Police Department has been under fire recently for its way of enforcing social distancing. The departments own record show 80% of people accused of social distancing violations are African American or Hispanic.
The commissioner admits there is a problem, but says it has nothing to do with race.
"This is deep rooted in sometimes generations, in social economic factors,” Shea said.
Either way, both sides agree fighting COVID-19 should not look like this.
"We cannot arrest our way out of epidemic. We need a cure or a vaccine, not locking up black and brown people,” Pegues said.
Police said the woman is expected to be charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and harassment.