Medical Office Worker Pepper-Sprayed After Asking Woman to Wear Mask

An employee at a medical office in New York was recently attacked with pepper spray after asking a woman to wear a protective face mask.

The Erie County District Attorney's Office identified the suspect who allegedly pepper-sprayed the employee as 27-year-old Deshawna A. Taylor, who is a resident of Buffalo.

The Buffalo Police Department first reported the incident on September 10, when it published a Facebook post asking for the public's help in finding the suspect. The department later updated its post to say that Taylor turned herself in to authorities.

According to the Erie County District Attorney's Office, at approximately 4 p.m. local time on August 31, Taylor entered a medical office located on Main Street near Humboldt Parkway in Buffalo. An office employee asked Taylor to put on a protective face mask, which is a requirement due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Taylor refused to wear the mask and "allegedly pepper sprayed" the employee, the district attorney's office said.

A press release issued by the district attorney's office noted that the incident "allegedly occurred in the presence of a child." Afterwards, the unidentified medical office employee received treatment for her injuries.

The district attorney's office said that Taylor was arraigned on Sunday morning before Buffalo City Court Judge Andrew C. LoTempio and charged with one count of assault in the second degree; one count of endangering the welfare of a child; and one count of unlawful possession of noxious material.

After her arraignment on Sunday, Taylor was released "on her own recognizance," the district attorney's office said. She is scheduled to return to court on September 27 for a felony hearing.

If Taylor is found guilty of all charges, she could face a maximum prison sentence of seven years, the press release read.

In addition to the charges, a "no-contact order of protection" was issued on behalf of the victim. The order also requires Taylor to "stay away from the medical office," where the incident occurred.

While speaking with WIVB in Buffalo, Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn described the incident as "an attack on a healthcare worker, who was just trying enforce the rules in their facility."

Flynn also commended the work of the Buffalo Police Department in the matter, his office said in a statement.

The Erie County District Attorney's Office directed Newsweek to the press release after reaching out for comment.

Protective masks
A New York woman was recently charged after allegedly pepper-spraying a medical worker who asked her to wear a protective face mask. Above, a 'mask required for entry' sign is displayed at the entry to a retail store to slow the spread of coronavirus on August 23, 2020 in New York City. Cindy Ord/Getty