A video of a woman being stopped by police for not wearing a mask at Bateau Bay Square shopping centre has divided social media over who’s in the right.
A video of a young mother being stopped by police for not wearing a mask at Bateau Bay Square shopping centre is fast going viral on social media.
The woman is seen to be approached by an officer who informs her she is under arrest for the purposes of identifying her for breaching a public health order.
But the young mother-of-two scarcely draws breath while informing him she has an exemption and “I know my rights”.
The situation escalates quickly when the officer informs the woman he is going to search her bag.
“You cannot search a person unless they are committing a crime,” the woman is heard on the video.
“[Not] wearing a mask is not a crime. Mandatory and compulsory is not law”.
The video appears to be cut shortly after a physical altercation but she is later heard stating she has trauma and PTSD and is exempt from wearing a mask.
The officer is seen talking on the phone to his Sergeant before coming back to the woman and apologising.
“I apologise, I’m providing you with my details for you to go to Wyong Police Station or any local police station, you can make a complaint in writing, against me,” he states.
When the woman asks what she was correct about he states “not requiring to provide ID or proof of exemption”.
A video of a woman being stopped at Bateau Bay Square shopping centre by police for not wearing a mask has divided social media. Picture: D-J Baker/YouTube
The exchange has divided social media with some claiming the officer was over zealous in enforcing the Public Health Order while others said the woman should have remained calm and not caused a scene.
“Poor women (sic) and shame on the cops for not better educating themselves of something they are enforcing!,” one person posted on Facebook.
But there were plenty of people who leapt to the officer’s defence stating the woman handled it terribly.
“She might have been right but she acted like a know it all and was rude from the start. It could have gone down a lot calmer if she didn’t overreact from the start,” one person wrote.
Another stated: “The officer admitted to being in the wrong but she didn’t need to carry on the way she did and behave like a massive bogan. If she didn’t mouth off about knowing her rights, nothing after that point would’ve happened. People carrying on about the policeman need to pull their bloody heads in.”
A police spokeswoman said inquiries were continuing.
“About 12pm yesterday (Wednesday, January 13), officers from Tuggerah Lakes Police District were conducting foot patrols of a shopping complex at Bateau Bay where they spoke to a 26-year-old woman seen not wearing a mask,” she said,
“Inquiries into the incident remain ongoing and further action has not been ruled out.”
According to the NSW Government’s public health order guidelines regarding masks people do not need to show proof of an exemption.
“You do not need documentary evidence stating that you are exempted from wearing a face mask under the public health order,” the guidelines state.
“Regulatory officers are focused on compliance rather than enforcement.
“If you are stopped by a regulatory officer in a setting where masks are mandatory, they will ask you to confirm the lawful reason you are not wearing a face mask.
“Officers will only issue penalty notices if you clearly refuse to wear a mask without a lawful reason.”
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