A man was physically removed from a SEPTA bus in Philadephia for not wearing a mask during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a viral video reported by CBS Philly.
CBS Philly reports:
A rider was physically dragged off a SEPTA bus by police at 11th and Market Streets on Friday. The bus driver called police because the passenger would not leave the bus. The passenger was resisting, holding on as tight as he could, and refusing to get off. It took about three officers to forcibly remove him by holding him by his arms and one leg to drag him outside the vehicle. Before all of that took place, some sort of official boarded the bus telling everyone without a mask, that they had to exit or that police would physically remove them. That one man didn’t get off and that’s why he was physically removed. The man was not arrested or cited.
Videos of the incident were posted to social media by the Philly Transit Riders Union (TRU).
do riders know that they might be pulled off a SEPTA bus by 10 cops for not having a mask? pic.twitter.com/NnHXJC02E8
— Philly Transit Riders Union (@phillyTRU) April 10, 2020
SEPTA’s website urges riders to wear a mask in accordance with guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The city’s Managing Director Brian Abernathy said in a Friday press conference that the bus driver requested that the man exit the bus because he did not have a mask, but he refused, prompting the bus driver to pull over and call the police.
“Police were not responding to the social distancing complaint, police were responding to the fact the person was asked to leave the bus and refused,” Abernathy told reporters.
When asked about the video, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney stated that he had not seen it but agreed with the police’s decision to remove the man.
“We’re in strange times, and people are reacting in strange ways, but I don’t blame the bus driver,” he said.
The TRU called the video “horrifying” and urged members to air complaints to SEPTA. “This is a hideous and violent response by the Philadelphia Police to our public health crisis,” a statement on the union’s website reads. “We’re urging our membership to contact both SEPTA GM Leslie Richards and PPD commissioner Danielle Outlaw to condemn this action.”
Police have launched an investigation into the incident, according to WHYY.org.
Philadelphia has 5,793 confirmed coronavirus cases and 137 deaths as of Friday.