A woman is facing misdemeanor charges after she refused to leave an island bank after being asked to put on a face mask, according to the Galveston Police Department.

Police on Thursday obtained an arrest warrant for Terry Wright, 65, of Grants Pass, Oregon, after a confrontation at a Bank of America at 6109 Central City Blvd. in Galveston, according to the police department.

The incident is the first known local example of police being called to intervene over a mask disagreement since Wednesday when a statewide mask mandate ended.

Wright, who had not been formally charged as of Tuesday, entered the building without a face mask about 12:30 p.m. Thursday and refused to wear a mask while inside, police said in a statement. She was asked to leave the building and refused, leading a bank manager to call police, according to the statement.

Officers told Wright she “needed to leave the bank if she did not want to wear a face mask as requested by bank management,” the department said. She didn’t leave, and began to resist officers who attempted to take her into custody, according to police.

The police department Friday released body camera video of an officer’s encounter with Wright.

In the video, Wright can be seen standing in the middle of the bank’s lobby, surrounded by other customers, all of whom are wearing masks.

Wright told the officer she had gone to the bank to make a withdrawal. The officer asked her to go outside or put on a mask. She refused.

“What are you going to do, arrest me?” she asked. “That’s hilarious.”

Wright then told the officer the law said she didn’t have to wear a mask. As the officer took out handcuffs, she pulled away and began to walk toward the door. The officer stopped her and forced her to the ground. After she was handcuffed, she complained that her foot was injured.

“Police brutality right here people,” she said to the other customers at the bank.

“No, it’s not,” multiple other people off camera can be heard saying back to her.

Wright suffered minor injuries during the struggle, police said. She was taken to a University of Texas Medical Branch hospital for treatment, police said.

Gov. Greg Abbott this week ended statewide orders requiring people to wear face masks in public places. Abbott declared businesses should decide for themselves what COVID precautions to take on their properties.

Many businesses have opted to keep their own mask rules in place.

Earlier this week, Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale said he would rather his officers not be called about mask issues but that they would respond to such calls as needed.

He specifically warned that people could be charged with trespassing if they refused to leave a building after being asked to cover their faces and refused to do so.

Police said they had obtained an arrest warrant on resisting arrest and criminal trespassing charges.

Wright hadn’t been charged or booked into the jail as of Friday afternoon because she was being treated for her injuries, police said.

John Wayne Ferguson: 409-683-5226; or on Twitter @johnwferguson.


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(23) comments

Gary Scoggin

Some people never pass up a chance to be a jerk. Ms. Wright appears to be one of those people. I think the officer was very professional.

Charles Douglas

"OG"> [thumbup]

Bill Sterchi

Yep! She is from OREGON......and, on Private Property. If they ask you to "mask-up", it's probably a good idea to do it - or leave peaceably. Trying their case on the street instead of a courtroom.

Charlene Adams

She got what she deserved.

Bailey Jones


Charles Douglas

It gives evidence why police recruiting is getting tough in lots of places! Cudos to the Officer who made the arrest! Who would have thought a nice Old Lady like that would act up the way she did?

Bill Broussard

Wish it had been Mark Henry instead

Carlos Ponce

How very PROGRESSIVE of you, Bill.

John Lengyel


Bailey Jones

That would have been hilarious. There's still time, the pandemic isn't over.

Craig Mason

I wish it was Henry too. Lol

Ted Gillis

Oh, that would have been priceless Bill.

Doug Sivyer

Good, lock her difiant ass up

Ted Gillis

And the police officers could lead her downtown tethered behind a horse!

Doug Sivyer

Or at least tar and feather her

Michelle Aycoth

An elderly man in Galveston was sucker punched in the face during a Trump rally and put ICU and the criminal was not arrested but a woman without a mask is ?

Sounds like arrests in Galveston politically motivated.

Andy Aycoth

Gary Scoggin

Nice little bit of whataboutism there, Andy.

Michael Moriarty

"Earlier this week, Galveston Police Chief Vernon Hale said he would rather his officers not be called about mask issues but that they would respond to such calls as needed."

Is this a suggestion that people resort to self-help? If that is the case, why would we pay for law enforcement?

Carlos Ponce

According to the FOX26 interview the officer was an off duty GPD officer in the role of a security guard for the bank.

Charles Douglas

To GPD Chief Hale,... an Old Pipefitter use to tell me something years ago when I did a good job for him, he said, this: "Charlie, that is a PRETTY PIECE OF WORK!"

I'd like to say the same thing about that GPD OFFICER who made the arrest on that lady in the bank: " THAT WAS A PRETTY PIECE OF WORK Officer!" Keep up the good work you were trained to do! We got your back!

Jack Cross

The police are put in bad position, but I wonder if she was a black 65 year old woman and was taken down and injured if all of you would be saying the things that are appearing on this thread.

Gary Scoggin

It wouldn’t change my opinion. Would it change yours? If you are trying to insinuate something, say it.

Bailey Jones

You raise an interesting point, Jack. I wonder how many defenders of this very privileged white woman would be defending her if she was black? I supported the cops when they walked the homeless guy down the street on a leash, and I support them in this case. I see at least one busy commenter here who supported the police in that previous situation, but not now. I wonder what the difference could be?

Here's some helpful advice for white people that I've been told will keep you from getting into trouble with the police:

1) Don't break the law.

2) Do what the police tell you to do.

I'm sure this sort of thing will stop if white people will just be more cooperative with the police and obey the law.

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