Chalk this one up as scratch-your-head confusing ...
On Wednesday, April 15, The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)—the largest Muslum civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S.—published a press release urging the Howard County Police Department in Maryland to investigate allegations that a security guard tasered a health care worker who refused to remove his face mask before entering the grocery store.
According to CAIR, the alleged victim is of Tunisian heritage and works to help those who have been infected with COVID-19. He and his family live within walking distance of the store (L.A. Mart) and have been customers of the establishment for years.
Face masks are now required to be worn when you're out in public in Maryland. All folks who come into a Chase Brexton center must also wear a face mask. If you need one - ask one of our screeners. pic.twitter.com/LrmMVhCQlc— Chase Brexton (@chasebrexton) April 20, 2020
“The shopper removed the face-covering briefly to show the guard who he was—a regular customer and familiar face at the establishment—then replaced the face mask and requested the guard to move back to abide by social distancing guidelines,” read the press release.
When the shopper walked toward the checkout line to pay, the CAIR claims that the guard approached him in a "confrontational way" and tasered him. The guard then pinned the man to the ground, restrained his wrists, and forcibly escorted him to an "enclosed office space."
“This individual is a hero providing an essential service during this pandemic, yet he was disrespected, attacked and humiliated as if he were a criminal," said CAIR’s Director of Maryland Outreach Zainab Chaudry. "This ordeal has traumatized him and has had a profound effect on his wife and children. His experience underscores why too many people of color are uncomfortable or reluctant to wear personal protective gear like face masks in public for fear of being profiled and attacked. We urge law enforcement to promptly investigate the circumstances of this incident, restore some measure of dignity, and help deliver justice for him and his family.”
Howard County police confirmed that the station was called to investigate an incident at the Columbia store location on April 4. Though, according to Howard County police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn, the investigation is ongoing.