NYC Couple Removed From Ferry for Refusing Masks Say They Were Targeted for Being White

A couple who were removed from a New York City ferry after refusing to wear masks ranted about Black Lives Matter, government control and what they described as discrimination against white people in America.

The husband and wife were confronted by fellow ferry passengers and NYPD officers Saturday night after they refused the captain's orders to either wear a mask or find another way back to their Bay Ridge neighborhood home in Brooklyn, New York. Video recorded by Gothamist's Jake Offenhartz shows the couple engaging in a 45-minute standoff in which they can be heard saying they were singled out because of their race. The woman involved in the incident claimed they wouldn't have been forced to wear a mask on the city ferry "if we were f**king Black."

“We’re being targeted. We’re being shamed.” (I spoke to the couple prior to this. They’re planning to sue, and encouraged me to film.)

— Jake Offenhartz (@jangelooff) September 6, 2020

"These people are just doing what the government is telling them," the woman is heard saying in one of the videos showing the standoff. The couple claimed to have a medical condition which precludes them from having to wear masks, but they were unable to provide such proof to police—and the man began smoking a cigarette throughout much of the incident.

Other increasingly impatient passengers on the ferry can be overheard demanding that the officers remove the defiant couple from the boat. "We got to go home," one man exclaimed. The couple were given an ultimatum to leave the boat and dock area or they would be arrested. They each received a summons for disorderly conduct. The couple asked NYPD officers for a ride home, but police told them it was against protocol to give them one.

"He's shaming us," said the man, who only identified himself as David to both police and Gothamist. "Because we can't wear a mask, we're being discriminated against."

"If we were f**king Black, I can guarantee you that guy would never come out and tell us to put a mask on," the woman said, before her husband chimed in agreement: "Right, because Black lives matter."

The two went on to say they plan to file a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the state government over the requirement to wear a facial covering.

Despite the couple repeatedly touting their constitutional right not to wear a mask, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's executive order requires all New Yorkers to wear a face covering while using public transportation in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Newsweek reached out to the NYPD, which confirmed knowledge of the incident but offered no additional details Sunday afternoon.

bay ridge couple ferry mask
A Brooklyn couple who were removed from a New York City ferry after refusing to wear masks ended up handcuffed as they ranted against Black Lives Matter, government control and discrimination against white people in America. Screenshot: Jake Offenhartz | Twitter