A Louisiana man was arrested after hitting a police officer with his car after being told to wear a face mask at a Walmart store, according to The Hill.
Louisiana has a statewide mandate for people older than the age of 8 to wear masks in public, and Walmart has a nationwide store policy requiring masks for all shoppers that will begin Monday, regardless of state rules.
What happened? Ricky Taylor, 64, was in Walmart without a mask Tuesday. A West Monroe Police Department officer approached him and told him to put a mask on.
Taylor refused, and allegedly told the officer “You can’t make me wear a f***ing mask” and “I’m not wearing a f***ing mask.” Taylor claims he has a medical condition that should exempt him from any mask requirement.
According to the arrest report, Taylor refused to give the officer his driver’s license and attempted to leave the store. The officer followed him to his car, and tried to relay the license plate number to dispatch.
While the officer was standing by the car, Taylor allegedly backed the car into the officer multiple times, causing him to lose his balance. Taylor claims he didn’t know the officer was standing back there. Another officer showed up to help apprehend Taylor, who resisted arrest.
Taylor spent the night in jail before being released on $2,250 bond. He has been charged with disorderly conduct, resisting an officer and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle upon a peace officer.
More about mask rules: Although Louisiana has a statewide mask mandate, the governor has specifically said it is not enforceable by law enforcement agencies. Therefore, departments like West Monroe will not attempt to enforce it in public places.
Businesses are a different story. The officers have the right to implement mask policies, and to ask people to leave if they don’t comply with those policies. If a customer refuses to leave, they can be charged with trespassing. That’s the charge the aforementioned Walmart store was reportedly seeking.
“However, businesses are required to insist customers wear masks,” read a post on the West Monroe Police Department Facebook page. “If you enter a business and are told to wear a mask, compliance is expected. Business owners do have the right to require customers to wear masks and ask them to leave if they do not. Should the customer refuse the business owners request and also refuse to leave when asked to leave for non-compliance, the customer could possibly face criminal charges of trespassing for refusing to leave the premises after being told to do so. If you are asked to leave, then do so to avoid this situation.”