Footage of the arrest has gone viral – with many shocked to see the man pepper sprayed and arrested when the encounter between the roofer and the officer became fraught.
Anthony Baldwin, 34, was approached by a British Transport Police officer while on a train at Lime Street Station in Liverpool on Wednesday.
Shock footage showed the moment father-of-five, Anthony Baldwin, was pepper sprayed and arrested by police after refusing to wear a face covering on public transport. He explains why he is exempt.
Mr Baldwin claims he does not need to wear a face covering as he suffers from anxiety and panic attacks.
A father-of-five has insisted he is exempt from wearing a face mask in public amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic – and says he is innocent after police pepper sprayed him and arrested him for refusing to wear a mask on a train.
Speaking to The Sun, he claimed: “I don’t have to wear a mask [on the train]. I’m exempt.
Video showed Mr Baldwin insist he was “exempt” from needing to wear a mask on public transport – and he was seen clashing with the officer when he ordered him to wear a face covering.
Mr Baldwin says he began suffering from severe anxiety following the death of his father five years ago.
“I’ve got severe anxiety. In the video the police pull my top over my head and you can actually hear me screaming.”
He also told The Sun he suffered a panic attack when he was in the back of a police van and says he treats his anxiety with medication.
Official government guidance does spotlight anxiety as one of the conditions that would make someone exempt from wearing a face covering on public transport.
He also claimed he refused to get off the train on Wednesday as he was on his way to an appointment at the time British Transport Police approached him.
He went on to claim he spent three hours in hospital following Wednesday’s incident, and said he sustained an “injury to the head” during the tense arrest.
The government website states: “The public are asked to be mindful of people who are exempt from wearing a face covering.
Face coverings became mandatory on public transport in the UK in June – with fines of £100 for those who refused to follow the rules, unless exempt.
It is believed Mr Baldwin was arrested for threatening behaviour and assault of an officer following Wednesday’s incident.
“The list of exemptions, which has been in place since face coverings became mandatory on public transport, includes hidden conditions such as anxiety or panic disorders, autism, breathing difficulties, dementia, reduced vision or if you are with someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.”