A woman claiming to be with the FTBA, a right-wing group that falsely claims to be a government organization, was caught on video harassing a store employee and claiming the woman could be subject to “major legal liability” if she attempts to enforce her store’s mandatory face mask policy.
The unidentified woman can be seen in the video wearing an FTBA badge while holding a clipboard with some documents from the fake group.
The group, which is selling the cards online that claim to exempt people from wearing masks during the coronavirus pandemic, is not a real government organization, federal officials warned last month.
“That you guys been challenging people on these subjects okay so we are the FTBA, the Freedom To Breathe Agency,” the woman claims.
“We are the We The People Organization making sure that people’s constitutional rights, civil and federal laws are not broken okay. So you personally – you can take this to your manager because you personally can be sued for this okay,” the woman falsely claims.
“I’m just following the store policy,” the employee tells the woman, who is seen not wearing a face mask.
“You are probably paid 15 dollars an hour or 12 dollars an hour, okay,” the woman tells the employee.
“Wow, wow,” a bystander recording the exchange can be heard saying after the woman’s insulting remark.
“You are putting yourself into major legal liability, you personally. Okay,” the woman continues.
“Alright,” the employee says as she walks away.
“Okay, you guys have to be careful,” the woman adds with a big grin.
These people are attempting to intimidate essential workers by pretending to work for a bogus federal agency. pic.twitter.com/fah5T2YGi6
— Kalhan (@KalhanR) August 7, 2020
According to the New York Times, The FTBA cards — featuring a red, white and blue eagle logo and approximately the size of a business card — say the bearer is exempt from ordinances requiring them to wear masks in public.
“Wearing a face mask posses a mental and/or physical risk to me. Under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), I am not required to disclose my condition to you,” reads the card, which misspells “poses” and incorrectly names the Americans with Disabilities Act.
There’s also a warning that businesses or organizations can be reported to the Freedom to Breathe Agency, the group behind the cards.
One version of the fake cards featured the Justice Department’s logo and listed a legitimate phone number where complaints about violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act can be submitted.
Federal officials warned that such cards and fliers were not issued or endorsed by the Justice Department.
“Do not be fooled by the chicanery and misappropriation of the DOJ eagle,” said Matthew G.T. Martin, the United States attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina. “These cards do not carry the force of law. The ‘Freedom to Breathe Agency,’ or ‘FTBA,’ is not a government agency.”