Black Men Kicked Out of Walmart for Wearing Masks During Pandemic

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By Joe Jurado

You really don’t need me to give you the customary “Yo, this pandemic shit is crazy” intro. At this point, I’m sure you’ve realized that this pandemic shit is indeed crazy. What’s even crazier is that cops have still found a way to keep with the bullshit, even as people are doing their best to keep themselves safe.

The Telegraph reports that two black men were recently escorted out of a Walmart in Wood River, Ill. for wearing surgical masks. Jermon Best and Diangelo Jackson were shopping for supplies when a cop followed them around the store. The cop told them they were violating a city ordinance that doesn’t allow people to wear masks inside businesses. The men started recording the incident as they were escorted out and uploaded it to YouTube on March 18.

From The Telegraph:

Wood River Police Chief Brad Wells said he had been reluctant to make a public statement about the incident because the video didn’t look good on the surface. He said the posted video doesn’t show the entire interaction between the officer and the men involved, adding the incident took place before there were a lot of people wearing surgical masks in public.

“There’s not much I can say,” said Wells. “I backed the officer by what he tells me. Just like anything, there’s more to the story.”

Wells said the officer “was mistaken when it came to the store’s policy prohibiting masks” and it was “the one error” made in the incident.

Best told The Telegraph “I don’t know if he was having a bad day. I’ve never said that the guy was racist. All I’m saying is that his actions were suspect.”

So obviously, there are racial undertones here. Why approach two people during a public health crisis about wearing surgical masks? At the time of the video’s release, a national emergency had been declaredCOVID-19 had been labeled a pandemic and people were being asked to stay at home. There was an abundance of signs telling us that shit had indeed gotten real. Even if there was a policy prohibiting masks, this is probably not the time to enforce it.

Correction: 4/7/20, 9:35 a.m.: The YouTube video was posted on March 18. An earlier version of the story had an incorrect date, which has been updated.

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