An Ohio woman not wearing a mask at a middle school football game was arrested after an encounter with a police officer who reportedly used a Taser before handcuffing her.
Video posted of the incident showed the woman, identified as Marietta City Schools parent Alecia Kitts, struggling with an officer whose own mask came off during the heated confrontation as she called out the “bullsh–” at the game being held outdoors.
Tiffany Kennedy, the woman who shot the video which was publicly shared on YouTube, indicated that Kitts was not wearing a mask because she has asthma and was given no warning before the officer approached her, according to The Ohio Star.
“Get off of me,” Kitts could be heard telling the Logan Police Department Officer as seen in the video. Logan junior high school assistant principal Adam Twiss also approached the scene.
“You’re not arresting me for nothing, I ain’t doing nothing wrong,” she yelled as he attempted to handcuff her, telling Kitts, who had been sitting with her mother on the outdoor bleachers, to put her hands behind her back.
Kitts had reportedly driven an hour and a half from Marietta in order to watch her son play in the eighth-grade football game at Logan, according to the Ohio Star. Although she was not wearing a mask, she appeared to be socially distanced from others as she sat on the bleachers with family.
Logan Athletic Director Theresa Schultheiss noted that only the mother and grandmother seen in the video were “having issues with compliance,” according to the Marietta Times which referred to the woman who shot the video as Tiffany Lynn.
“This rule has been in effect since we were told we could play,” Schultheiss said. “Everyone that came through ticketing tonight was reminded, we had regular announcements over the PA reminding you that mouths and noses needed to be covered and we had signs at the bathrooms.”
But questions were raised about why a lack of mask would lead to an arrest and the use of force, as the physical struggle between Kitts and the officer eventually led him to use his Taser.
“Alecia’s mom said that when the officer tased her, the current went through the bleachers and zapped the kid sitting there too,” Kennedy said, according to the Ohio Times. “There is no reason to tase someone and arrest them for not wearing a mask.”
“Come on, it’s just a mask!” Kitts’ mother could be heard telling the officer.
“The police officer attempted to detain her, she resisted … she wasn’t hurting anybody,” Skylar Steward, who blasted the Logan Police Department on Wednesday, said, posting another video of the incident.
Steward, who identified Kitts as the mother of his son, called on viewers of the video to “fill Logan with protestors,” according to the Marietta Times.
“The governor and the (Ohio) health department have made it very clear that masks are required indoor and outdoor at sports facilities. They’re just part of the expectation,” Marietta City Schools Athletic Director Cody Venderlic told the news outlet. “They’re one of the requirements the OHSAA (Ohio High School Athletic Association) brought down and said that if we’re going to be able to have fall sports we’re going to have to social distance and we’re going to have to wear masks.”
The video seemed to indicate that Kitts actually had a mask with American flag imagery in her right pocket. And, according to the footage, another officer who ran to join her colleague as he led Kitts away was not even wearing a mask.
“I am really disappointed,” Marietta City Schools Superintendent Will Hampton said. “If you chose not to (wear a mask) then you threaten not only our ability to have sports but put your ability to watch as a spectator in jeopardy as well.”
“Instead, we’re talking about an individual who didn’t follow the rules and made a spectacle of herself,” Hampton added.
But for MCS Board Member Doug Mallett, who was sitting nearby, the moment the officer pulled out the Taser, he felt compelled to walk over.
“It escalated pretty fast into an ugly situation, he tased her pretty fast,” he said.
“I didn’t see where she was putting anybody at risk, I guess that’s a Logan rule. It depends on interpretation, it’s a state rule, but I thought there was some wiggle room if you have health issues. I tried to stay out of it until he got the taser out,” he said, hoping that “cooler heads prevailed” after they left the stands.
“Hopefully they released her and forgot about the resisting arrest,” Mallett said.
The incident is under investigation, the Logan Police Department confirmed to the Marietta Times.