A video that went viral on Twitter this week shows NYPD officers kicking a mother and her young child out of a Queens Applebee’s for not providing proof of COVID-19 vaccinations.
The incident took place at Queens Centre Mall on Dec 15 during a protest of New York’s vaccine mandate, the New York Post reported.
At least 10 officers from the department’s Strategic Response Group can be seen surrounding the table before demanding the family show their vaccination cards or leave. In the video, a young boy approximately five years old stands up from the table and covers his face as he starts crying.
“If you don’t have [the COVID-19 vaccination card] then you have to leave,” an officer tells the mother.
“What a lovely new world we are living in when you go out for a meal and a squad of police barge in, persecute a little boy then demand to see everyone else’s papers,” tweeted user Cyn Clagar, who posted the video. “This is the vax passport world so many are begging for.”
“Scaring a child. Traumatizing a child. Hope you feel good about yourself, NYPD,” the woman recording the video says. “This is disgusting. This is gross. Disgraceful. You failed yourself, NYPD.”
“You failed yourself. Is this what you signed up for? Is this what justice looks like? For you, is this what you dreamed of when you wanted to be a cop?” she adds.
As the cops kick the mother and her child out, the protest appears to escalate, and one officer tells the demonstrators that they must leave.
“If you leave voluntarily, you will not have charges pressed against you. Otherwise, you will be arrested for trespass. This will be your only warning,” he says in the video.
Newsweek reported that the NYPD said they responded to a call from the restaurant, which reported that patrons who had been denied service due to vaccination card requirements were refusing to leave.
“Upon arrival, officers were informed by the manager that individuals entered, refused to prove vaccination status in compliance with NYS Mandate and requested for the individuals to be removed from the location,” the NYPD said.
Four people were arrested and charged with criminal trespass as a result of the protest. The mother and child did not face any charges.
As of Monday, children over the age of 12 are required to show proof of two COVID-19 shots to enter most public indoor settings, according to CBS 2.
“The reason we are open while others are closed is because of vaccines and mandates,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “We need to double down on vaccines to get out of the COVID era.”