A Louisiana man was arrested after allegedly running his car into a police officer who asked him to wear a mask at a Walmart store.
Ricky Taylor, 64, faces charges of disorderly conduct, resisting an officer and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle upon a peace officer, according to an arrest report from the West Monroe Police Department.
The officer had told Taylor inside the Walmart Tuesday that it was policy for every customer to wear a mask, according to an arrest affidavit. Taylor responded by cursing at the officer, saying “You can’t make me wear a f—ing mask” and “I’m not wearing a f—ing mask.”
The officer asked Taylor for his license as he began to leave the store, to which Taylor replied: “I could give it to you but I’m not,” the affidavit said.
So the officer followed Taylor out of the store, and while he was reporting Taylor’s license plate number to dispatch “Taylor backed his vehicle up and struck him two different times,” the arrest report said.
The officer said he did not fall down after he was struck, but he did lose his balance.
Another officer who responded to the scene asked Taylor to exit his car and attempted to handcuff Taylor, who pulled his arms away, fell to the ground and continued to resist arrest while on the ground, the affidavit said. He was eventually arrested.
Taylor was booked at the Ouachita Correctional Center, jail records show. He was released on $2,250 bond the next day, a police spokesperson said.
It’s unclear if Taylor has a lawyer. Efforts to reach him by phone were unsuccessful.
Taylor told police that he cannot wear a mask because of a medical condition, the arrested report said. He also said he did not see the officer behind his car when he backed up.
Walmart on Wednesday announced that customers would be required to wear masks in its more than 5,000 stores in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday regarding the incident with Taylor.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards issued a statewide public mask mandate on July 11 for people ages 8 and over, unless health issues exempt them.
“This is a mandate, not a law. In announcing the mandate, Governor Edwards himself says it will not be enforceable by law enforcement agencies,” the West Monroe Police Department said in a statement.
“However, businesses are required to insist customers wear masks. If you enter a business and are told to wear a mask, compliance is expected. Business owners do have the right to require customers to wear masks and ask them to leave if they do not,” the statement said. “Should the customer refuse the business owners request and also refuse to leave when asked to leave for non-compliance, the customer could possibly face criminal charges of trespassing for refusing to leave the premises after being told to do so.”