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Former trooper accused of ripping off man’s mask charged

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper who was fired after a man filming a traffic stop accused him of ripping off his face mask has now been charged with assault.

Harvey Briggs approached a protester at a peaceful demonstration last month in Nashville and tore off his face, touching his face in the process, according to court records filed Thursday.

Briggs was fired after the incident for unprofessional conduct, a THP spokesperson said.

Briggs, a 22-year employee of the agency, was placed on leave after a video surfaced of the encounter. In the video, Andrew Golden films a traffic stop by troopers at the state Capitol. Briggs, who was not involved in the stop, crosses the street and threatens to arrest Golden if he tries to impede the stop. Briggs has his hand on his gun and is not wearing a mask. At one point he gets inches away from Golden’s face.

Golden then turns the camera away and it captures his mask flying to the ground. Golden has said Briggs ripped it off. In the video, Briggs denies the allegation.

Wearing face masks has become common to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Court records do not indicate whether Briggs has an attorney.

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