GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — An arrest warrant was issued for a woman who refused to wear a mask at a Texas bank, saying to a police officer: “What are you going to do, arrest me?”
Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of Terry Wright, 65, of Grants Pass, Oregon. The incident on Thursday at a Bank of America in Galveston was captured by the officer's body camera, The Galveston County Daily News reported.
Police say they've obtained an arrest warrant on resisting arrest and criminal trespassing charges.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday ended statewide orders requiring people to wear face masks in public places, declaring that businesses should decide for themselves what COVID-19 precautions to take on their properties. Many businesses have kept their own mask rules in place.
Police said a bank manager called police after Wright refused to wear a mask while inside, and then refused to leave the building when asked.
The police department on Friday released the officer's body camera video footage. In the video, Wright can be seen standing in the middle of the bank’s lobby, surrounded by other customers, all of whom were wearing masks.
Wright told the officer she had come to the bank to make a withdrawal. The officer asked her to go outside or put on a mask. She refused.
“What are you going to do, arrest me?” she asked.
He replied: “Yes, for intruding on premises.” And then she said: “That’s hilarious.”
Wright then told the officer the law said she didn’t have to wear a mask. As the officer took out handcuffs, she pulled away and began to walk toward the door. The officer stopped her and forced her to the ground. After she was handcuffed, she complained that her foot was injured.
“Police brutality right here people,” she said to the other customers at the bank. Replies of “no” and “no, it's not” could be heard.
Police said she suffered minor injuries during the struggle and was taken to a hospital for treatment.
Wright told The Washington Post that she has never covered her face inside stores, even when the statewide mandate was in place. She said she was in an RV park across the bay from Galveston in Hitchcock, Texas.
She told the newspaper she was “attacked” and compared mask requirements to the way that Nazi Germany forced Jewish people to identify themselves with a Star of David. She also said she believed in a “plandemic” in a reference to a documentary-style video in which an anti-vaccine activist promotes a string of questionable, false and potentially dangerous coronavirus theories.