California Cop Accused of Shaming Mask-Wearers in Viral Video to Be Investigated

California's Santa Rosa Police Department (SRPD) is investigating allegations made about a police officer in a popular TikTok video. A woman, who is remaining anonymous, claimed that an officer used a patrol car speaker to implore shoppers at the Santa Rosa Avenue shopping complex to remove their masks.

An account, under the name Shan, reportedly uploaded a selfie video from her car, explaining what she allegedly had just seen occur. "If you're the cop with the SRPD who was over by Menchie's Frozen Yoghurt using your loudspeaker to tell people to take off their masks because they were acting like slaves, I spoke with your office and they would like to speak with you. So I would head back if I were you," said Shan in the now-deleted video, which captured her reaction, but not the actual event.

SRPD Professional Standards Sgt. Dan Hackett told The Press Democrat: "We take complaints by the community very seriously. That's what we're doing with this complaint. If it was found to be true, the officer responsible would have to be held accountable."

In a statement to Newsweek, SRPD said: "We did recently receive a complaint about an SRPD officer possibly making comments about people wearing masks in a local shopping center. We take all complaints about unprofessional behavior seriously and opened an internal investigation.

At this time, we have no indication these comments were made by an SRPD officer. No other shopping center employees or patrons have reported hearing these remarks come from an SRPD patrol vehicle.

Our Professional Standards Team is investigating if the allegations are accurate, if the comments were said, or if the comments came from a private citizen. Anyone who may have witnessed this incident is encouraged to contact our Professional Standards Team, via Sergeant Dan Hackett at 707-543-4132."

Shan told The Press Democrat that the video had been viewed around 60,000 times before she took it down after receiving death threats.

She alleged that she had been running errands on June 21 at the Santa Rosa Marketplace lot, and was in line to order at Sonoma Valley Bagel, when she heard the voice through the speaker telling people to "take off your masks, don't be slaves. Don't be slaves, take off your masks." Shan says she and people in nearby shops opened the doors to see what was happening.

She described the police officer she had seen as "white, perhaps 6 feet tall in his 30s or 40s, with brown or dirty blond hair."

According to The Press Democrat, Shan immediately called SRPD after the incident occurred, and spoke with Hackett the next day, who took a statement over the phone. When asked by the outlet, no one working at Sonoma Valley Bagel or Menchie's on Wednesday remembered hearing the call to de-mask through the speakers.

"It is not up to the police or even the government to tell people to take off their masks," Shan said. "Yes, it is now an option for those who are vaccinated, but it is not required. Citizens should not be harassed by authorities for wanting to protect themselves from potential danger."

Hackett cited Section 105.5.9 of the SRPD's policy manual to The Press Democrat, as the section the officer's actions would fall under if true. Causes for discipline in the highlighted section include: "Discourteous, disrespectful or discriminatory treatment of any member of the public or any employee of this department or the City," and "any other on or off-duty conduct which any employee knows or reasonably should know is unbecoming a member of this department, is contrary to good order, efficiency or morale, or tends to reflect unfavorably upon this department or its employees."

Police officer and car
Police officer and car. Santa Rosa police are investigating allegations of a cop shaming mask wearers. Getty Images. Getty Images