NYPD cops ignore directive, abandon masks during clashes with protesters

Source

NYPD cops have been ignoring an official directive and abandoning their coronavirus face masks amid the violent protests over George Floyd’s killing — even though a top official took on the city’s health commissioner to get the protective gear.

Dramatic images from recent street clashes show cops with surgical masks pulled beneath their chins or not wearing any at all while up close and personal with demonstrators whose mouths and noses are likewise fully exposed.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has warned that the ongoing rallies — which entered their sixth day on Tuesday — could lead to a spike in cases of COVID-19, and he’s urged demonstrators to “stay home,” saying, “You’ve made your point.”

Chief of Department Terence Monahan has also been repeatedly photographed without a mask in public, including when he held hands and kneeled in solidarity with unmasked protesters in Washington Square Park on Monday.

Last month, The Post exclusively revealed that Monahan had to appeal directly to City Hall when Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot ignored his desperate plea for 500,000 masks to protect NYPD cops and civilian employees from the deadly respiratory ailment.

“I don’t give two rats’ asses about your cops,” Barbot told Monahan at the time.

Barbot publicly apologized for the remark following The Post’s expose.

During a May 22 meeting of the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, NYPD Assistant Deputy Commissioner of Legal Matters Oleg Chernyavsky said cops were under orders to wear masks as per “the protocol that we’ve instituted” to respond to the pandemic.

“If they’re interacting with the public, they’re obligated to wear masks,” Chernyavsky testified.

A high-ranking NYPD source said the situation surrounding the protests made it impractical for cops to wear face masks.

“They’re not wearing them because they can’t breathe. It’s hot. You’re standing there for a long time,” the police official said.

“Those masks aren’t for running. They’re heavy. The more you walk and move it’s harder to breathe.”

Another NYPD source said, “Cops aren’t wearing masks with their helmets because it fogs up visors and it’s hard to breathe when you’re fighting.”

Neither City Hall nor the NYPD immediately returned requests for comment.

nypost.com

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