Not wearing a mask can get you in trouble with the law — and so can asking it to wear one, apparently.
A Canadian cop was caught on film upgrading a driver’s warning to a ticket, just because someone in the car dared ask why he wasn’t wearing a face covering.
The incident happened in Winnipeg on Tuesday night, after a driver had been was pulled over for allegedly failing to move into a farther lane when passing a stopped emergency vehicle.
After the male driver receives his papers back, his female companion in the passenger seat — who is recording on her cell phone — asks, “Sir, I just have a question — why are you not wearing your mask, and you’re yelling? That’s not good, that’s not safe.”
“Okay, cause I’m not within six feet of you,” the officer retorts, despite being very clearly closer than that. “And you know what? If you want to do it that way, I’ll just write a ticket, is that the way you want to do this?”
“I’m just asking…” the woman says, but the officer continues: “I don’t need to wear a mask when I’m outside.”
“Even if you’re close?” she presses, and that’s as much as the cop is willing to listen to.
“Okay, you know what? You can give me your stuff back, you’re going to get a ticket,” he says to the driver, who has remained completely silent throughout the interaction.
“Why am I going to get a ticket?” the driver protests.
“You were going to get a warning, I was being polite, you’re not being polite so … just gimme your license and registration.”
“I’m being polite. Sir, I’m asking you a nice question,” the woman pleads, but the officer’s tone gets even more forceful. “I’m gonna ask you once more, and then I’m gonna take it from you.”
Winnipeg Police Service said it was “aware of a video being shared on social media”.
“The officer is not wearing a face mask during his interactions with the occupants of the vehicle,” it admitted. “Winnipeg police officers are expected to wear face masks during interactions with members of the public unless social distancing is being practiced.”
“The officer has been spoken to by his commanding officer about his conduct and the matter has been dealt with,” they added
They did not specify what, if any, disciplinary action was taken against the officer. Nor did they say whether the ticket was being quashed — however, Winnipeg Police Service said the traffic stop had been flagged to the provincial prosecutor, and that attempts were being made to speak with the driver.
The woman in the video told Global News she is filing a complaint, and that she has been receiving threats online over the incident.
Per Canada’s COVID-19 public health orders, masks must be worn in indoor public spaces; anyone not doing so can be fined $298 (US $235).