Police in Hackensack, New Jersey on Tuesday announced the arrest of a 25-year-old woman for attacking a 54-year-old after a dispute about a face mask.
Terri Thomas “became angry, yelled at the victim, and then violently threw her to the ground,” Detective Capt. Darrin DeWitt said, according to NJ.com.
The police narrative matches what can be seen on surveillance video. A woman with a cane stands near what appears to be a copy machine. A young woman–the one identified as Thomas–walks from the center of the frame to the left-hand side of the image; as she does, the victim turns around. The woman said to be Thomas then herself turns around and begins pointing in the older woman’s direction. The younger woman–again, said to be Thomas–entered the older woman’s personal space and appeared both very animated and angry. The older woman backed up and stuck out her cane in an attempt to distance herself from Thomas. The suspect grabbed for the cane and then threw the victim to the ground.
That older woman came forward and identified herself as Margot Kagan. She said in an interview that she was using a fax machine when she saw the suspect not wearing a face mask properly. She then pointed out the issue, she said.
“When she started cursing me out I said, ‘Well, you’re endangering everyone,'” Kagan said, before Thomas was arrested. “So that’s when she took it upon herself to leave her little cube area and come in mine, but she’s, face-to-face with me, without the mask on properly.”
Footage shows the suspect wearing a mask, but it was positioned under her nose.
Kagan said she recently had a liver transplant.
“I held up my cane so she couldn’t go any more forward,” she said. “I didn’t touch her with it. At some point, she grabbed the cane and threw me and it on the floor.”
Kagan said she sustained a broken knee, and doctors told her she couldn’t put weight on that leg for seven to 10 weeks.
It is unclear if Thomas has an attorney.
Correction: The original version of this article said Kagan said in an interview she recently had a kidney transplant. That is incorrect. It was a liver.
[Screengrab via Hackensack Police Department]
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