West Monroe police arrest West Monroe man on suspicion of disturbing the peace through language on Tuesday after the suspect reportedly used foul language to voice his refusal to wear a mask in a store that required the social distancing measure.
Gov. John Bel Edwards' mandate that people over the age of 8 wear a mask in public took effect earlier this week. Though law enforcement cannot enforce the mandatory wearing of a mask in public, law enforcement may be called on to enforce a business' requirement that its customers wear a mask.
While responding to the store's complaint about an unruly customer, the police officer's vehicle was struck by the suspect's vehicle. The suspect was identified as Ricky L. Taylor, 64, of 163 Barr Lane, West Monroe.
After the traffic incident, the officer tried to place Taylor in handcuffs but Taylor refused to comply.
“Taylor pulled his arms away from me and went to the ground,” stated the July 14 arrest report. “Taylor continued to resist while on the ground.”
After taking Taylor into custody, the police officer explained that the business in question had a policy requiring each customer to wear a mask.
“(The police officer) stated he offered Taylor a mask and he started cussing (at) him inside the store,” stated the arrest report. “(The police officer) stated Taylor yelled, 'You can't make me wear a f***ing mask' and 'I'm not wearing a f***ing mask.'”
In light of Taylor's alleged refusal to wear a mask, the business asked police to place Taylor on a trespass notice.
Police asked Taylor to provide his driver's license. Taylor told the police officer, “I could give it to you but I'm not.”
The officer was detailing Taylor's license plate number to dispatch when Taylor backed up his vehicle and struck the officer.
“(The police officer) stated he did not fall down but did lose his balance,” stated the arrest report. “Taylor stated he could not wear a mask because of a medical condition and stated he did not see the officer behind his vehicle.”
Taylor was booked at Ouachita Correctional Center on the above charge as well as on resisting an officer and aggravated assault on an police officer with a motor vehicle.