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Unmasked Police Officer Taunts Subway Rider at Astoria Station

Police Officer Powell at the 46th Street station in Astoria (twitter and GMaps)

Aug. 31, 2021 By Allie Griffin

A NYPD officer taunted a subway rider at an Astoria station Saturday morning after the straphanger snapped a photo of the cop without a mask covering his face.

Alex Fermin took a photo of two officers who had their masks under their chins inside the 46th Street station and continued on his way, he said on Twitter.

The officers, however, called him out for taking the photo and allegedly followed him onto the platform.

Fermin said one of the officers, Karim Powell, was harassing him so he pulled out his phone to record the interaction.


Powell — who had his mask below his chin — asked Fermin what he was going to do about him not wearing his mask properly.

“Tell the city and tell the mayor,” Powell said in the video.

The NYPD requires all officers to wear masks over their nose and mouths when interacting with the public, regardless of their vaccination status. The MTA also requires the public to wear masks inside subway stations and on trains.

“You can’t tell me when to wear my mask, alright?” Powell said repeatedly in the video recording.

He then started to walk away, but turned around and said the problem with people like Fermin is that America is free.

“You know what’s the problem with you guys?” Powell said in the video. “Because America is so free, that’s the problem.”

Fermin said he was left shaken by the interaction.

“I’m still experiencing PTSD from prior NYPD violence…so now I’m just shaking and trying to calm my racing heart,” he tweeted afterwards.

Fermin told multiple outlets that he was arrested during a protest following the death of George Floyd last summer. He said Saturday’s interaction triggered lingering trauma from his arrest.

The NYPD didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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