A woman was arrested and placed in handcuffs by state police in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Tuesday for failing to wear her face mask properly at a subway station.
A video of the arrest posted to social media that has garnered more than 14,000 views shows the woman, wearing a mask that covered her mouth but not her nose, being forcibly detained by armed officers, one of whom also was wearing a mask incorrectly.
The detainee, identified by local media as 41-year-old María, was at the Cuauhtémoc station when she was stopped by police officers who grabbed her arms as she struggled in protest.
In a statement released that afternoon by authorities, the officers were reproached for their behavior, although the arrest was deemed legal. “We consider such action unnecessary by the officers,” law enforcement officials said.
“The current situation that prevails in the face of the pandemic, as well as the economic difficulties that our country is going through, cause a high degree of stress in the inhabitants of the state, a situation that forces the public safety officers to carry out their work always keeping calm, promoting serenity and tranquility among citizens,” the statement read.
The Ministry of Public Safety said it was contacting police officers by radio every three hours “to remind them that their actions must adhere to reason, the common good and, above all, good judgment, and not only to strict compliance with municipal regulations.”
Officials did not disclose what happened to the woman after she was taken into custody, nor did they mention any sanctions for officers involved.
The incident came the same day a new law went into effect in Nuevo León which states that those found guilty of infecting other people by not respecting quarantine protocols during health emergencies can be punished with up to three years in prison and fines of up to 34,000 pesos, around US $1,500.
Likewise, the municipalities of Monterrey and San Pedro announced that they will arrest people who do not wear masks in public places.
“The Secretary of Public Safety of Nuevo León endorses their commitment to the people of Nuevo León to protect and serve with integrity and recommends abiding by the measures indicated by the Ministry of Health during the coronavirus contingency,” officials advised.
As of Wednesday, Nuevo León had 6,226 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, had seen 344 deaths and was at maximum risk for the coronavirus, according to the federal government’s “stoplight” map.