A Brooklyn couple was arrested and taken off a New York City ferry in handcuffs on Saturday after they refused to wear face masks.
A couple were planning on traveling from Manhattan to the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bay Ridge via a city ferry, according to Gothamist. The captain of the ferry instructed the husband and wife to put on face masks or disembark from the vessel. The couple refused to do either. Face masks have been mandatory on New York City ferries since April 17.
For approximately 45 minutes, the couple went back-and-forth with ferry employees about wearing a mask until two NYPD cops showed up. The couple asserted they were exempted from a state face mask mandate because they suffered from a medical condition. Police asked to see proof they had a medical condition, but they reportedly refused.
“He’s shaming us,” the maskless man reportedly said. “Because we can’t wear a mask, we’re being discriminated against.”
“We’re being targeted,” the man reportedly told police.
“If we were f***ing black, I can guarantee you that guy would never come out and tell us put a mask on,” she allegedly said, according to Gothamist reporter Jake Offenhartz, who documented the mask standoff and eventual arrest of the couple.
“Right, because Black Lives Matter,” the husband allegedly added.
“This has been going on since March, and my husband is f***ing pissed off,” the woman allegedly said. “Every time I have to commute to Manhattan, it’s a f***ing process.”
One frustrated ferry-rider screamed to the police officers, “Take them off the boat, we gotta go!”
After a brief moment of resisting, the man was handcuffed, and the passengers on the ferry erupted in applause. As the couple were removed from the ferry, the crowd of about 90 people could be heard yelling, “Thank you, NYPD!”
“Mostly everyone complies,” an NYPD cop at the scene allegedly said. “And then you get a few knuckleheads who don’t.”
A New York Police Department spokesman said the couple got a summons for disorderly conduct.
An NYC Ferry spokesperson told the New York Post that the agency “is continuing to investigate the incident in question.”
“The safety of our riders and crew is our number one priority,” the representative said. “We sincerely thank the NYPD for their rapid response to last night’s incident, and we greatly appreciate the professionalism of our crew along with the patience of our riders.”
The woman reportedly said that she was considering suing NYC Ferry. The couple claim that they had already sued the Metropolitan Transportation Authority for being forced to wear face coverings on New York City public buses.