Candace Owens had a run-in with the police at a Whole Foods in Washington, D.C., that she was not happy about.
The conservative pundit took to Twitter and wrote, “WOW. Just had a police officer called over to me and my husband at Whole Foods bc we were not wearing masks. We come to this @WholeFoods EVERY DAY. Apparently beginning yesterday, it is now illegal to come in without a mask. Total deaths in D.C from Covid? 69. WTF if [sic] going on?”
Owens further explained the ordeal in a video she posted to Twitter where she said that the officer was a Black woman wearing a mask. Then Owens went out of her way to clarify that she wasn’t at all attacking the police. “I do want to be clear here,” she said. “I am not at all meaning to attack police officers. They have to do what they’re told to do even if they disagree with it personally. And I can sense that this woman disagreed with it personally.”
Owens then said that the officer told her that she had to cover her face or wear a mask due to a city order that recently went into effect. However, Owens argued that she and her husband didn’t have anything to cover their face, so they continued throughout the store without a covering. She said this is when customers started complaining to the officer who reiterated to her that she had to have a face covering.
Owens went on to spend seventy-five percent of the video explaining how the coronavirus safety measures, such as self-quarantining and protective face wear, “doesn’t make sense” because D.C. has had a low number of deaths (68 according to The Washington Post) compared to other cities like New York, which has recorded more than 10,000 deaths according to The New York Times. She also tried to argue that “nobody is playing this social distancing” game in certain parts of D.C., so why implement certain rules?
“This is now budding into something that is tyrannical. This is not a quarantine, this is house arrest,” Owens said in the video. “A quarantine is when people that are sick stay at home. I am not sick. I have not been sick and I am being mandated to stay home. I am being told where I can go. Now I’m being told how even when I go in to get an essential item, how I have to look. That I have to have a mask on my face. This is a complete violation of all our freedoms and it’s not in an effort to save lives.”
Clearly, Owens missed the various celebrities and information saying you can still carry COVID-19 without experiencing symptoms, although it’s still debatable whether you can spread the disease while being asymptomatic. State governments’ shut down of non-essential businesses, mandated social distancing and stay-at-home orders also seem to have some success in cities like San Francisco where the mayor’s aggressive actions have been praised by epidemiologists.
If anything, Owens might have a point about the over-surveillance of protective wear and social distancing, considering vulnerable communities — such as Black people and the homeless — tend to get the brunt of such measures. There was already an incident in Philadelphia that went viral of cops using excessive force on a bus passenger who wouldn’t wear a mask. Even Black people who do wear protective face coverings feel the anxiety of looking too “menacing” because of this country’s history of racial profiling. Enforcing social distancing rules also take a different form with Black people and the homeless, when such communities might need to organize together for survival.
But Owens most likely wasn’t thinking of such conditions, according to her video and her past remarks denying systematic racism. Clearly, she just doesn’t want anyone to tell her what to do, even if it might save the lives of hundreds and thousands of people.