Illinois cop follows two black men around a Walmart and tells them they're not allowed to wear medical masks - as some black men express worry about wearing them outside in case they are profiled by the police (4 Pics)

A police department in Illinois is under fire after an officer was filmed escorting a pair of black men out of a Walmart who were wearing masks to safeguard themselves against the coronavirus. 
Jemon Best, of Belleville, posted the video to Youtube - under the alias Halo Dale - after he and Diangelo Jackson, of Wood River, experienced the 'terrifying' ordeal at the Wood River Walmart.
While it is unclear as to when the event transpired, the video was first posted online on March 18. 

In the brief clip, both Best and Jackson can be seen with their masks partially removed as they walk through the store. The officer had instructed the pair to take the masks off, the Telegraph reports.  
'This officer behind us just followed us in the store,' Best states in the video. 'He just followed us from outside and told us that we can not wear masks...' 
'There is a presidential order, there is a state order and he is following us right out of the store.' 
Best shares that the officer also told him that he couldn't film the altercation on his phone, but did tell the duo that his body-camera was collecting footage.

'We are being asked to leave for being safe,' the pair assert. 
As they continue exiting the store, a woman stops the officers and begins talking to him.   
'We are getting kicked out of Walmart for wearing masks,' Jackson shouts, to the amazement of other store customers. 
Best declares: 'Aye so coronavirus is real. This police officer just put us out for wearing masks and trying to stay safe.' 
The clip comes to a close with the pair walking out of the store as someone in the background talks about a city law about masks. 
Wood River Police Chief Brad Well told the Telegraph that the video is taken out of context, claiming that not as many people were wearing masks as with current times.    
'There's not much I can say,' said Wells. 'I backed the officer by what he tells me. Just like anything, there's more to the story.'
The chief added that the officer 'was mistaken when it came to the store's policy prohibiting masks' and that it was 'the one error' made during the altercation. 
Wells added that the two escalated the issue by stating they were harassed.  
'They immediately went into the race issue,' said Wells. 'He (the officer) didn't kick them out of the store or refuse entry.'
But Best asserts that he never made called the officer out for being discriminatory directly.
'I don't know if he was having a bad day,' said Best. 'I've never said that the guy was racist. All I'm saying is that his actions were suspect.' 
He explained that rather than show identification to the officer, he and Jackson chose take the masks off. 
'Being a young African-American male, it's kind of hard when you interact with the police because you don't know what state of mind they're in,' said Best.
'I was just more worried about him doing something he's not supposed to do.' 
Wells said that the department would investigate the incident if a complaint was filed, adding one had not yet been done. 
'I don't have an official complaint (from them),' said Wells. 'If they did make an official complaint, there is a component in law enforcement allowing things to be investigated.' 
Best's encounter strikes a similar cord for other Black men and men of color across the United States during the coronavirus pandemic. 
The sentiment comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that all people wear masks when out in public.  
'I don't feel safe wearing a handkerchief or something else that isn't CLEARLY a protective mask covering my face to the store because I am a Black man living in this world. I want to stay alive but I also want to stay alive,' said Aaron Thomas, an educator in Ohio. 
'There is still the nuance of race that dictates our lives and the way we move through spaces, even in these turbulent times.
'So until I get a proper and official face mask ima have to run the grocery store like it's 1993 and I'm on Supermarket Sweep.'
Best's encounter strikes a similar cord for other Black men and men of color across the United States during the coronavirus pandemic
Best's encounter strikes a similar cord for other Black men and men of color across the United States during the coronavirus pandemic
On Friday, the CDC advised for people to wear 'cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.' 
In the United States, bandanas are associated with gang affiliation and violence, Cyntoria Johnson, an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Georgia State University, explained to CNN
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, Blood and Crip street gangs have used colorful bandanas or rags as a system of identification. 
The department also describes the 'uniform of Hispanic gangs' as including 'a bandana tied around the forehead similar to a sweatband.'  
'People of color have to make conscious decisions every day about the way they show up in the world and are perceived by others, especially the police,' Johnson added. 
For Andrea Young, executive director of the ACLU of Georgia, the CDC's mask guidance was 'one more instance of racial insensitivity that pervades the response to this pandemic.'  
'To date, neither federal nor Georgia state officials are addressing the racial disparities in access to healthcare, access to the internet and the ability to work from home. Black Americans are suffering disproportionately from this pandemic,' Young said. 
The sentiment was shared by ReNika Moore, director of the ACLU's Racial Justice Program.  
Data released on Monday shows that death rates by race-ethnicity are highest for black residents in Chicago
Data released on Monday shows that death rates by race-ethnicity are highest for black residents in Chicago 
'For many black people, deciding whether or not to wear a bandana in public to protect themselves and others from contracting coronavirus is a lose-lose situation that can result in life-threatening consequences either way,' Moore said. 
'Not wearing a protective bandana goes against CDC recommendations and increases the risk of contracting Covid-19, but wearing one could mean putting their lives at risk of getting shot or killed because of racially-biased targeting.'     
The news comes as black populations are becoming the largest groups of people being infected with the coronavirus in cities across the country.  
The numbers are particularly alarming in cities with large African American populations like Chicago, New Orleans, Detroit and Milwaukee, which are becoming hotspots for the coronavirus.
In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that more than half of Chicagoans who have died from COVID-19 are African Americans.
'We are all in this crisis together but we are not all experiencing this crisis in the same way,' Lightfoot said Monday. 
Black residents in Chicago accounted for 72 per cent of deaths from COVID-19 complications and 52 per cent of positive tests for the coronavirus, despite making up only 30 per cent of the city's population, according to the city's public health agency.   
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