In a video of the incident, the officer can be seen trying to cuff Smith, while another unidentified woman was shouting to stop the arrest. When Smith turned to the other woman, the officer suddenly body-slammed her.
“Record this s—!” she shouted at the bystanders.
Birmingham Police Sgt. Rod Mauldin said the confrontation started when Smith refused to wear a mask when a Walmart employee asked her to. He said the officer approached them only when Smith began shouting expletives.
“The reason for the officer’s contact was disorderly conduct and not just the mere violation of a face covering ordinance,” he said in a statement, according to Atlanta Black Star.
Mauldin added that Smith continued even when she was asked to leave the store and resisted when the officer detained her.
“The officer used a takedown measure to gain control due to the other threat factors in the store,” Mauldin said, noting that Smith was not injured and she refused to be treated.
Birmingham, like other cities, currently has an ordinance that requires people to wear masks or any covering for the nose and mouth, especially in public. A $500 fine or a month in jail can be given to violators, but Mauldin said the police have not made any citation or arrest regarding the ordinance yet.
Meanwhile, Smith was charged with resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, marijuana possession, possession of a controlled substance, and criminal trespassing. She was booked in jail but was released on a $10,000 bond.