Dad pepper sprayed by police in mask row says he’s exempt due to panic attacks

A Dad who was pepper-sprayed by police for not wearing a mask said he is exempt because he gets panic attacks.

Anthony Baldwin who blasted the heavy-handed response by British Transport Police after he was detained on a Wirral line service at Liverpool’s Lime Street station on Wednesday.

Footage showed a BTP officer challenging Anthony to put on a face covering due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the dad refused claiming he has “underlying health conditions” and is not required by law to wear a mask.

Video footage showed Anthony resisting before other officers arrived and led him away in handcuffs.

The dad-of-five, who has since been charged over the incident, today said “I’m innocent” and vowed to clear his name.

He said he wasn’t wearing a mask due to anxiety following the death of his dad five years ago – and has now lodged an official complain against the BTP.

Anthony, from Wirral, said he was on his way home from work at the time and was left shocked by the “heavy-handed” police reaction.

“I was panicking and I had a panic attack in the back of the police van and they just kept laughing at me.”

Anthony said he has been experiencing panic attacks since his father died in 2015 and that he takes medication for his anxiety.

He said he tried to explain this to the first officer but wasn’t given the chance.

BTP said they were called to reports of a man coughing on two passengers – which Anthony denies. 

He said: “I haven’t coughed at anyone.”

BTP have charged Anthony with threatening behaviour and assaulting a police officer and he will appear in court in January.

He added: “At the end of the day I’ve done nothing wrong. I’m innocent.

“Anthony Baldwin of Little Sutton, will appear at Liverpool and Knowsley Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday 6 January 2021.”

A spokesperson from the BTP said they have received a complaint by our Professional Standards Department which is currently being assessed.

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