Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday he was “troubled” by a video of two maskless cops shoving a man out of a Manhattan subway station on Tuesday after the straphanger asked them to mask up — the police commissioner later calling it an “absolutely inexcusable” incident that prompted the NYPD to hand out minor penalties to the duo.
“I saw one of the videos of a couple officers removing someone from the subway. I was troubled by that video. I didn’t like what I saw one bit,” the mayor responded during his press briefing when asked about the footage, which was widely shared on social media.
“I didn’t see everything except for the clip at the time when the person was being removed, but I saw the officers not wearing the masks in the subway.”
De Blasio predicted the pair of officers would be punished — for patrolling the subway system without wearing face coverings.
“There’s an investigation underway, [and] I expect there will be discipline in that case, because it’s obvious that they were not wearing masks,” he said.
The pair of cops were hit with NYPD punishments known as “Command Disciplines” for their misconduct, which means they could lose up to 10 vacation days, a police source told The Post.
NYPD rules require cops, regardless of vaccination status, to mask up while on the job — a rule top department officials were recently captured flouting. Federal law requires face coverings on public transportation.
During a press conference at the NYPD’s headquarters, Commissioner Dermot Shea called the officers’ behavior “absolutely inexcusable,” and confirmed the officers were disciplined,
“There’s no excuse for what I saw in that video. We’re better than that,” he said. “Nobody’s getting fired over this incident. Nobody’s getting suspended over this incident. But at the same time, I’m not in any way shape or form attempting to downplay it.”
Shea added, “I think we’re better than that. I think the public deserves better than that.”
Janno Lieber, the MTA’s acting chair, said he was “upset” to see a rider booted from the public transit system during a time when the agency is attempting to lure commuters back underground.
“I’m upset by what I saw, I think you know we are at a moment where we are trying as a city, as a region to welcome people back to mass transit systems to help accelerate the recovery of the system,” he fumed to reporters during a press conference in Manhattan. “You are the people who are responsible for getting everybody to comply with masking, and with all of the behaviors and rules that we apply to the subway system and in public spaces.”
“This is a distraction, and frankly, we’re trying to bring riders back to the system,” Lieber added. “I don’t want to see them being pushed out of the system by people who are not complying with the rules the federal government sets. Come on!”
The blowback comes after on Tuesday morning a male cop carried Queens resident Andy Gilbert down the platform and out of Eighth Street station with help from a woman officer, who pushed an emergency gate open, according to a witness and video of the incident.
“I kept asking why aren’t you wearing a mask. Eventually, he said I was being disruptive,” said Gilbert, 27. “He said, ‘If you’re not going to ride the train, you can get out.’”
Gilbert told The Post he was speaking with the cops for several minutes before the officers got physical. The male officer initially “pretended he couldn’t hear what I was saying, like, ‘Sorry I can’t hear through your mask,’ ” he recalled.
Witness Victoria Hall described the cops’ reaction as “very aggressive” and was disturbed by their behavior.
“The police just got very aggressive,” she said. “Normally, something like this, I wouldn’t want to be involved, but it was just really annoying and made me angry.”
“They should have just said, ‘You know what, sorry we should have put them on too. Thanks for reminding us.’ And that would’ve been it.”