Senior police officials have defended officers’ ‘appropriate action’ after two New South Wales organic grocery store owners clashed with cops over mask wearing rules.
Senior police officials have defended the officers’ ‘appropriate actions’ after images of an ugly clash with two people flouting NSW mask rules were posted on social media.
The owners of an organic food store in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales have clashed with police over their anti-masker views.
The duo work at Bowral’s organic food store and have voiced their opinion on social media against wearing masks and vaccines.
A sign on the store front reads: “To protect our customers and each other, if you have received a vaccine in the past 10-14 days, please do not enter.
“For hygienic reasons, no masks in store.”
Dramatic footage of the confrontation, which took place on Thursday, was posted on their Instagram account and showed the owner being taken into the back of a police van by two police officers.
Meanwhile, the male owner was grabbed by police and wrestled to the ground after approaching the police to ask “what did she do?” concerning the woman.
“What is she guilty of?” the woman filming can be heard screaming.
Police urged the man to get away before he was caught, pushed into the van and pushed to the ground.
The person filming the event can be heard saying “Mark, Mark”.
“Stop resisting, you are under arrest,” said one officer.
The store posted images of the incident on social media with a caption that said police had discussions with the owners for an hour and a half prior to the arrest.
“A client and a friend decided to film the discussion… that’s when it all started. They refused to allow the filming and tried to forcefully remove it from the store, ”they said.
NSW Police released a statement later on Friday saying officers attended the store and noticed that staff and shoppers were not wearing masks.
The store manager, a 62-year-old woman, said she did not intend to comply with the orders in force and was arrested after refusing to provide her contact details to the police.
A 61-year-old customer entered the store without a face mask. Officers asked the woman to put on a mask or leave the store, but she refused, NSW police said.
“The employee intervened, asking for police leave and the two women were arrested,” police said.
“As the officers escorted the women outside to a police vehicle, they were confronted by a man who yelled at the officers before removing a sergeant’s face mask.”
The 63-year-old was also arrested at the scene.
All three were taken to the Southern Highlands Police Station.
The man was charged with assaulting an officer in the line of duty, resisting an officer in the line of duty, and inciting to resist / hamper a police officer in the exercise of its functions.
He has been released on bail and will appear in Moss Vale local court next month.
The two women were later released, and the young woman issued a $ 200 PIN for not wearing a tight-fitting face covering while in an indoor area of shops or business premises.
“New charges and offenses are expected as investigations continue into other public health violations,” police said.
The Instagram of the Organic Store is filled with posts questioning Covid-19 vaccines and pleading against masks.
Masks are mandatory inside New South Wales as the state grapples with its latest Covid outbreak.
31 new cases were recorded in New South Wales on Friday, including 13 who were active in the community while infectious.
NSW Police have been contacted for comment and said more information would be available later Friday in their Covid envelope.
While providing the daily Covid-19 update on Friday, NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Gary Worboys said this type of behavior was “not activated”.
“The police have taken the appropriate action. They came to this location because of community concerns, ”he said.
“A number of people in the community alerted the police to this (the store’s anti-mask policy) and the police attended and took action.”