Moment police kick man out of Bluewater shopping centre for not wearing face mask despite his ‘medical exemption’
- Kent Police kicked man out of Bluewater shopping centre for not wearing a mask
- Local musician claims that he has a medical exemption for not covering his face
- Police are seen herding man off premises and call him ‘an aggressive problem’
- But the man accuses officer of being ‘discriminator of people with disabilities’
- Covid-19 guidance provides legal exemptions for people with disabilities
This is the moment police kicked a man out of a shopping centre for not wearing a face covering despite claiming he had a medical exemption.
The video shows a man accusing a Kent Police officer of ‘discrimination’ as he is herded off the premises of Bluewater shopping centre in Dartford.
The man, a musician known as Danny G, was filmed repeatedly offering to show his exemption to officers and security staff during the altercation last Thursday.
However, they warn him he is ‘trespassing’ and say he ‘needs to go’ because he is ‘an aggressive problem’ who is ‘disregarding a police officer’.
Danny can be heard saying that he has a medical exemption for not wearing a face mask, which is mandatory in shopping centres as well as licensed premises and hospitality venues, public transport and railway stations on threat of being fined.
He then accuses the officer, who appears to ask repeatedly for proof of exemption, of being ‘a discriminator of people with disabilities’.
In a Twitter thread posted later that day, the musician shared a photo of his exemption card, which states: ‘I am exempt from wearing a face covering.’
Police have now launched an internal and external review of the incident after Danny made a complaint and requested the officer’s body-cam footage.
The man, a musician known as Danny G (left), was filmed repeatedly offering to show his exemption to officers and security staff during the altercation last Thursday (right, an officer)
The video shows a man accusing a Kent Police officer of ‘discrimination’ as he is herded off the premises of Bluewater shopping centre in Dartford last Thursday
In a statement to MailOnline, police said they were on a ‘routine patrol of Bluewater shopping centre’ when ‘security personnel’ told them that a man who ‘had been asked to leave for not wearing a face covering’ was flouting Covid-19 restrictions.
But official Covid-19 guidance provideS legal exemptions from wearing masks, including for people who ‘cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability’.
People likely to experience ‘severe distress’ when wearing a mask are also exempt, as are children younger than 11 and police officers whose ability to ‘serve the public’ could be impaired.
Government guidance also states that those with an ‘age, health or disability reason for not wearing a face covering should not be routinely asked to give an written evidence of this’, adding that this ‘includes exemption cards’.
According to the Covid-19 guidance on face masks: ‘No person needs to seek advice or request a letter from a medical professional about their reason for not wearing a face covering.
‘Some people may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering. This could be in the form of an exemption card, badge or even a home-made sign.
‘This is a personal choice and is not necessary in law.’
MailOnline has contacted Bluewater shopping centre for more information.
As the video begins, Danny can be heard arguing with the officer and a security guard, who tell him. ‘You need to leave. You need to go. You’re trespassing now.’
As the video begins, Danny can be heard arguing with the officer and a security guard, who tell him. ‘You need to leave. You need to go. You’re trespassing now’
The officer becomes increasingly frustrated and fumes: ‘I’ve asked you to tell me what your exemption is, and you have been massively aggressive to me’
The police officer then shoves his hand in front of the camera and appears to try and grab Danny’s phone.
He responds, saying: ‘Don’t touch my property please.’ The men continue to herd Danny backwards, asking him to leave and accusing him of being aggressive.
However, Danny retorts by accusing them of discriminating against him for his disability. He then demands the officer’s number who refuses to give it, saying he will provide the details outside.
The officer then says: ‘What you’ve done, you’re not wearing a mask’.
Danny then cuts him off saying: ‘Yeah and I am exempt. I’ve got a doctor’s letter in my pocket.’
The officer becomes increasingly frustrated and fumes: ‘I’ve asked you to tell me what your exemption is, and you have been massively aggressive to me.’
Danny claims to have already told him about the exemption and accuses the officer of being: ‘A discriminator of people with disabilities.’
The argument continues and suddenly the officer lunges for the phone, exclaiming: ‘Don’t put that in my face.’
The clip ends with the men having escorted Danny near the exit of the building and informing him he won’t be allowed back in.
Danny shared the video online, tweeting: ‘Just happened to me, apparently this is acceptable’
In a Twitter thread posted later that day, the musician shared a photo of his exemption card, which states: ‘I am exempt from wearing a face covering’
Danny shared the footage on Twitter saying: ‘Just happened to me, apparently this is acceptable.’ He also posted a photo of a medical exemption card which he says belongs to him.
The video sparked a furious backlash, with one social media user posting: ‘So the Copper broke the law by asking him to show evidence of exemption under the Disability Discrimination Act and Equality Act. Not all disabilities are visible.’
Another added: ‘Did you get the scumbag’s number? He’s broken the law. Sue the b******.’
And one Twitter account said: ‘So you can’t be exempt from wearing a mask but he can wear his half way down his face and touch it 20 times. Let’s make this man famous.’
Kent is currently in Tier 1 of the Government’s coronavirus alert system
However, others disagreed, with one claiming that Danny’s exemption card looked fake. Another commented: ‘Well done mate you have just made you have just made yourselves look a right pratt.
‘The police were only doing what they are told to do, well done to them.’
A spokesman for Kent Police told MailOnline: ‘At around 1.20pm on Thursday 22 October 2020 a Kent Police officer on a routine patrol of Bluewater shopping centre was notified by security personnel that a man had been asked to leave for not wearing a face covering.
‘In line with the force’s policing approach to the pandemic, the officer sought to engage with the individual to explain the latest government guidance and encouraged them to adhere to it.
‘Only as a last resort is enforcement action taken and, on this occasion, it was deemed proportionate to escort the man off of the premises.
‘A complaint has since been received and a review of the circumstances, which will include assessing the officer’s body worn camera footage, is ongoing.
‘The complainant will be updated in due course and it is therefore not appropriate to comment any further at this time.’
Kent is currently in Tier 1 lockdown. These Covid-19 restrictions, which do not call for the blanket closure of licensed venues and a ban on households mixing, are the least severe of all measures at the Government’s disposal.
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