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10 Apr, 2020 22:19

‘Madness that will start riots’: Philadelphia police drag man off public transit for not wearing mask (VIDEOS)

‘Madness that will start riots’: Philadelphia police drag man off public transit for not wearing mask (VIDEOS)

Viral videos are showing police in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania telling people to wear masks on public transportation to help stop the spread of Covid-19, and harshly enforcing this rule with non-complying passengers.

The first video, posted by the Philly Transit Riders Union on Friday, shows an official informing transit riders that they are not allowed to be on board if they are not wearing masks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

He says all of this while he himself is not wearing a mask. A rider also not wearing a mask is then told to exit the vehicle.

Subsequent videos then show multiple police officers forcibly removing the unmasked man from the bus.

The Philadelphia Police Department released a statement saying the passenger was asked to remove himself from the bus several times by the driver, but refused. Police then answered a call reporting a “disturbance.”

The Riders Union, an organization that defends the rights of public transit workers and riders, has pointed out that transit authorities have not been clear enough about whether a mask is simply recommended or required.

They asked people to email the police chief to “say cops should hand out masks” and not “assault” riders.

SEPTA public transport company spokesperson Andrew Busch said that masks became a mandate on Thursday. 

“The covering can be as simple as a shirt, bandana or anything else someone can grab at home before they head out,” he said. 

Concerned and shocked reactions have been tweeted in reaction to the video, with some warning this type of authoritarianism could lead to a worse situation, like “riots.”

"This is the kind of madness that will start the riots,” reporter Matt Walsh tweeted.

“Hard to believe this is what it has come to,” another user wrote.

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