Video Shows Cops Ripping Man from Bus, Reportedly for Not Wearing Face Mask


Video of a man being dragged off a bus by police in Philadelphia, reportedly for not wearing a face mask amid the coronavirus pandemic, is going viral online.

Officials in the City of Brotherly Love are under fire for a video that appeared to show at least seven Philadelphia police officers forcefully removing a man off of a city bus on Friday.

The Philly Transit Riders Union — which describes itself as “a grassroots organization of transit riders, workers, and residents who are coming together to improve Philadelphia’s public transit” on its Facebook page — shared videos of the incident on Twitter and said it wanted the officers involved investigated.

WARNING: The following video contains language that some viewers will find offensive.

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The group asked on Twitter, “do riders know that they might be pulled off a SEPTA bus by 10 cops for not having a mask?”

Video prior to the police incident also showed a public transit worker (who is not wearing a mask) saying, “You’ve gotta get off the bus, man. I’m gonna have the cops take you off.”

The man also tells other riders they must leave for not wearing masks, despite one of the riders wearing what appears to be a makeshift cloth mask.

The Philly Transit Riders Union issued a statement about the incident accusing police and other public officials of “harassment and profiling.”

“The Philadelphia Police Department began limiting contact with the public on March 17th. Was this interaction necessary? This response indicates that harassment and profiling will be used to determine who is allowed to use public transit and who is considered ‘essential,’” the statement said.

The public transit advocacy group also accused the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority of mixed messaging in regard to whether riders are required to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On Thursday, SEPTA ‘urged’ riders to wear face masks, despite masks still being listed as a prohibited item on other parts of SEPTA’s website. At some point later in the day, masks apparently became a ‘condition for riding transit,’ although a rider would only know this if they asked SEPTA directly on Twitter,” the group wrote in its statement.

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City officials told WCAU that officers were not enforcing any policy requiring citizens to wear masks in public, and that police were removing the man from the bus after the driver asked him to leave and he refused.

“When a bus driver says he’s kicked somebody off for any reason, our officers are going to support SEPTA in that effort,” Philadelphia managing director Brian Abernathy told members of the media Friday.

“Especially given some of the challenges SEPTA has faced during this crisis,” Abernathy added.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney also shared his support for the transit employees, WCAU reported.

“SEPTA bus drivers are front-line, boots-on-the-ground heroes,” Kenney said. “We are in strange times, and people are reacting in strange ways.”

The mayor added, “I don’t blame the bus driver,” and said the man on the video was released by police without being cited or detained.

The incident in Philadelphia was reported as other incidents of unconstitutional government overreach have occurred — drawing questions about whether governments are exercising too much authority in enforcing social distancing polices at the expense of the rights of American citizens.

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In one example, a Pennsylvania woman was cited last week for violating a stay-at-home order by going out for a drive alone. The citation stated that she had “failed to abide by the order of the governor and secretary of health issued to control the spread of a communicable disease.”

Just this past week, a man was detained by police in Brighton, Colorado, for playing tee-ball with his wife and six-year-old daughter in an otherwise empty park.

Officials in Brighton let the man go and eventually issued an apology.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.