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Off-duty officer in Alabama body slams Walmart shopper irate over face mask rule

An off-duty Alabama police officer body-slammed a Walmart customer after she refused to wear a face covering and became irate, authorities said Thursday.

The woman, who was not publicly identified, was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and other alleged crimes, police in Birmingham said.

Sgt. Rod Mauldin said the incident occurred Tuesday at a Walmart in a Birmingham shopping district.

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The woman became upset after a store employee asked her to wear a face covering as a coronavirus protection before entering, Mauldin said in a statement. She refused and became “disorderly,” yelling expletives at customers and employees, he said.

When the woman refused to leave, the officer, who has not been identified and was working for the store at the time, tried to detain her, Mauldin said.

In a video of the confrontation shared on Facebook, the officer appears to be trying handcuff the woman. As she pushes away from him, the officer picks the woman up and slams her into the floor.

The officer used a “takedown measure” to gain control of the woman because of “other threat factors in the store,” Mauldin said.

Mauldin did not detail those threats, but in the video, a second woman can be seen yelling at the officer and saying he gave the woman a concussion.

Mauldin said the woman was not injured and refused medical attention. Per police department protocol, a use-of-force investigation was immediately launched, he said.

Birmingham has two ordinances in place meant to prevent the spread of coronavirus, a shelter-in-place order and a requirement to wear a face covering in public.

Jefferson County, where the city is located, has had 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center. Fifty-three people have died from the disease.

Tim Stelloh

Tim Stelloh is a reporter for NBC News, based in California.

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