Toledo Police attempt to assuage profiling fears of black men for wearing masks

Published: Apr. 20, 2020 at 6:40 PM EDT
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There are plenty of fears of COVID-19 in the African American community.

City and state leaders are sounding the alarm, saying the virus is disproportionately affecting African Americans.

But some in the community don't feel one of the suggested preventative measures -- wearing a face mask -- is a reasonable step. A local activist said black men fear being profiled if they wear a homemade mask in public.

"I would encourage everyone to wear a mask. The CDC said the same thing," Toledo Police Chief George Kral said. "The one big thing that we have learned is just that African Americans are being affected much more than any other demographic. So if anyone should be religiously wearing a mask, its members of the African-American community and I encourage that.

"Every person who’s wearing this (police) uniform in the city knows what’s going on with this pandemic. We understand the people are going to be wearing mask, we expect them to wear masks."

The chief said his officers go through diversity training before they hit the streets. While local and state leaders continue to discuss re-opening businesses, local leaders are urging minorities to wear your masks.