• The Star Staff

Why are so many NYPD officers refusing to wear masks at protests?

By Michael Wilson

Riot helmets, ballistic vests, shields, batons — fully decked-out police officers have become staples in New York City as the protests against racism and police brutality approach their third week. But increasingly, one piece of equipment has attracted attention with its absence: the face mask.

On any given day, any corner, any group of officers, some or all of them are not wearing masks. Others wear them below their chin. With masks having become as ingrained as shirts and shoes in the vast majority of New Yorkers’ wardrobes, their widespread absence on the police is striking — and to a mayor and governor still fighting the coronavirus pandemic, troubling.

“Police officers should be wearing masks,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a news conference in Manhattan on Monday. Likewise, Mayor Bill de Blasio, on his call-in appearance on WNYC on Friday, was asked why officers were unmasked.

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