A maskless woman was filmed falsely telling a grocery store worker she could be prosecuted for telling customers to wear masks - insisting that she was from an organization called the ‘Freedom to Breathe Agency’.
The now-viral video shows the woman claiming she’s from the 'agency', which she says protects people's “constitutional rights” and makes sure civil and federal laws are not broken.
It happened on Friday afternoon in Orange County, when supervisor Liz Chavez, 31, confronted two women without masks.
They refused, and identified themselves as being from the ‘FTBA’ and handed Chavez a piece of paper saying she could be sued.
“You personally need to take this to your manager because you personally can be sued for this, OK?”, one of the women says.
“You are putting yourself into major legal liability — you personally.”
The document stated she could go to prison for up to five years and could be fined up to $10,000.
The video has since been viewed more than one million times on social media.
— Blake Babin (@blakebabin)August 8, 2020
The Freedom to Breathe Agency is - unsurprisingly - not a real government agency, and appears to exist solely as a private Facebook group.
Chavez told BuzzFeed she thinks the woman wanted a confrontation: “I just want to say people really need to be nice to these grocery workers, we work our butts off during this pandemic. Just give us a little break, it’s just our store policies, we’re following the rules. We don’t need to be attacked every day.”
The FTBA came under scrutiny earlier this year, distributing fraudulent face mask exemption cards.
The Department of Justice said in a statement that the cards were not issued or endorsed by the government.
“Do not be fooled by the chicanery and misappropriation of the DOJ eagle,” said US Attorney Matthew GT Martin in a statement.