A man was physically removed from a school board meeting in Mitchell, South Dakota, on Monday night because he refused to wear a protective face covering.
Reed Bender had attended meetings in the past and spoken against mask mandates, according to the Mitchell Republic.
At Monday’s meeting to discuss public opposition to the district’s mask mandate, Bender refused to put on a mask even when one was offered to him.
Although many residents oppose the mandate, some school board members have said a “survey wouldn’t change” their minds, the Republic reported.
“The medical professionals have recommended [masks], and my wife cares for and has treated several patients who have had COVID-19,” board member Kevin Kenkel said.
“She has seen the long-term effects on people,” he said. “Even if 75 percent said we don’t want masks, I would still vote in favor of masks.”
Superintendent Joe Graves called the police to help with Bender.
“The board said there is a masking mandate and everyone in the school building must wear a mask,” Graves told the Republic.
“We gave the gentleman fair warning of that and offered him a mask. He refused, so the board had to enforce the mandate.”
Police officers arrived 20 minutes later and tried to get Bender to wear a mask, but he refused.
“You’re going to have to drag me out,” he said.
The officer then physically removed him from the library where the meeting was held.
WARNING: The following video contains vulgar language that some viewers may find offensive.
Bender resisted the officers as other people urged him to stop, video of the altercation showed.
One officer pulled out his taser but was hesitant to use it.
“You’re going to have to tase me in front of all these people,” Bender said.
“I want these people to video it while their cops of minority descent have to do this to everybody,” he said.
One woman off-screen said that Bender just “wants to have a say.”
After a little more struggle, the officers were able to remove Bender from the room.
“Never in my entire career as a superintendent have I had that happen before,” Graves told the Republic.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.