BOTHELL, Wash. — A video circulating on social media shows Bothell police handcuffing a woman inside a grocery store. People sharing the clip claim she was arrested for not wearing a mask, but police said that’s false.
The clip shows a Bothell police officer arresting an unidentified woman inside the PCC Market on Bothell-Everett Highway this past Saturday.
Bothell police responded on Thursday with a lengthy statement explaining what happened.
"We have not arrested any person, at any time, for ‘not wearing a mask.’ The person in this video was being taken into custody for Criminal Trespassing,” the department said.
Police said they were called to the store because a group outside was allegedly harassing customers.
The caller told police some of the people were entering the store without masks and refusing to leave, the department said.
Bothell police said the unmasked woman in the video was asked multiple times to leave.
She argued with a store manager and they told her if she did not leave, she'd be trespassing, the department said.
When an officer attempted to arrest her, she pulled away and resisted, police said.
“When I went in there with her, the store managers, no one from the store ever came up to her,” said Dustin Barnes, who shot the video. “The first person that I saw come up to her was the police officer who then grabbed her.”
Barnes said he and others, who disagree with mask mandates and do not wear masks, were gathered at the market on Saturday when the arrest occurred. Many of them claim medical exemptions, he said.
Barnes declined to identify the woman who was arrested and said she asked for privacy. He also would not say what her medical condition is. Her face is blurred in the video.
The Washington State Department of Health says on its website, under a section on mask medical exemptions titled “Can I be kept out of a business?” that “businesses should offer alternative service options, like curbside delivery, to keep workers and customers safe.”
Bothell police said the woman in the video is no longer in custody and it’s up to the prosecutor’s office to decide whether to charge her.