Maskless woman arrested in Galveston day after mandate lifted

GALVESTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Just a day after Texas rolled back COVID-19 restrictions, including those mandating face coverings in public, a woman's arrest has emerged stemming from her refusal to wear a mask.

Body camera footage released by Galveston police shows officers confronting the woman inside a Bank of America branch on Central City Boulevard.

The footage, taken on Thursday, begins with an officer being directed by a bank manager to the woman. The officer encounters the woman who expresses frustration over being told to wear a mask, invoking the state's lifted mandate.

However, the officer is heard reminding the woman that businesses can refuse service to anyone that does not comply with masking policies, which is something that Gov. Greg Abbott still allowed.

WATCH FULL VIDEO BELOW:
EMBED More News Videos

"This is what they'll do to you," a woman who claims to be 65 yells out as she's confronted by a Galveston police officer. See how a call over her refusal to wear a mask unfolds on body camera.



After the woman said she wants to take her money out from the bank, the officer tells her to go get a mask and come back to do so.

With the woman giving pushback, the officer says, "Ma'am, listen, we can do this the easy way or the hard way."

"What are you going to do? Arrest me?" she asks. "That's hilarious."

The confrontation escalates with the woman raising her voice at other bank customers, and that's when it becomes physical.

The woman is taken down to the ground and arrested.

You can watch the full encounter in the video player above.

Police identified the woman as 65-year-old Terry Wright, who was arrested on a charge of resisting arrest and criminal trespass. Officers added she sustained minor injuries and was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

In an interview Friday with Eyewitness News, Wright said she traveled to Galveston in an RV to cross off items off her bucket list. She was at the bank to close her account and the Central City location was the only one that was open to her.

She said she would have preferred to go through a drive-thru but couldn't with her RV. Still, she says, she's glad she stood her ground, adding that she is "very opposed" to masks and doesn't believe in the pandemic.

"I won't wear that diaper on my face!" she told ABC13.

Woman arrested by Galveston PD speaks with Eyewitness News over her confrontation
EMBED More News Videos

Press play to watch a FaceTime interview with Terry White, the woman who was taken down by security after she refused to comply with the bank's face mask protocol.



Wright's arrest came a day after Texas officially lifted mandates statewide over virus prevention protocols. In lifting those mandates, Gov. Abbott put controls over protections back in the hands of individual businesses, but reminded Texans that personal responsibility is key with the coronavirus still rampant.

Legally, individual businesses are allowed to set their own safety protocols against the coronavirus, and, like in Wright's case, can refuse service to patrons who don't abide by policy.

Bank of America declined to comment on the arrest. They released the following statement of their policies:
"We remain focused on supporting the health and safety needs of our associates, clients and communities. This includes ensuring our practices and policies are aligned with the most up-to-date guidance from medical professionals and public health experts. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other medical experts continue to reinforce the importance of using face coverings and practicing physical distancing in all public spaces. In accordance with that ongoing guidance, we continue to require everyone who enters our financial centers wear a face covering. If clients inform us that they are uncomfortable wearing a face covering or unable to do so, we recommend they use our ATMs or drive-through window. Clients also can utilize mobile and online banking for the majority of their day-to-day banking needs."

SEE RELATED STORIES:


Based on initial law enforcement reports, an earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the suspect's name as Terry White. This story has been updated to reflect the correct name of Terry Wright.

Follow Shelley Childers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Copyright © 2021 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.