The spread of the COVID-19 virus has caused the world to adjust socially. In a move to prevent transmission of the respiratory illness, many people have decided to wear surgical masks while in the public.
However, two Black men said that they were racially profiled while wearing surgical masks at a Walmart in Wood River, Illinois.
During the incident, Jerome Best filmed himself walking out of the store as a police officer followed him and a friend. Best and his friends were both wearing surgical masks and claimed that the officer told them to leave the store.
“He followed us from outside and said that it is was a presidential order and a state order,” Best said. “We’re being asked to leave for being safe.”
In the video, Best would later yell to other customers, “Coronavirus is real. This police officer just put us out for wearing masks and trying to stay safe!”
The officer involved was not reprimanded by his superiors, according to The Telegraph. Wood River Police Chief Brad Wells backed the officer’s account and said that the officer on duty was misinformed about customers being able to wear masks while in the store. He also claimed that Best started recording the cellphone video after he approached them and asked for identification.
Wells says Best never showed the officer his ID.
The video has since gone viral.
View footage of the incident after the jump. (NSFW)