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Las Cruces woman arrested after allegedly refusing to wear mask at NMSU game

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - New Mexico State University Police officers arrested a 50-year-old woman who they say refused to wear a mask while attending Thursday night's basketball game.

An NMSU spokesman said officers had asked the woman several times to put on a mask. During the game, he said she would put it on and then take her mask off again. Eventually, officers asked her to leave. She reportedly refused to do so.

Officers arrested 50-year-old Deborah Atchley. She was booked into the Doña Ana County Detention Center on misdemeanor charges of trespassing and resisting an officer.

"The state of New Mexico has a public health order that requires individuals to wear masks indoors," said university spokesman Justin Bannister. "The university is bound by statute to enforce those rules."

At the game, there were 21 total mask violations, according to NMSU. Four people left the arena on their own, Bannister said. The rest put on masks.

He said two people were caught sneaking in food and/or drinks.

As ABC-7 reported earlier in the week, the chancellor decided to close concession stands at the Pan American Center after he saw dozens of people in the crowd not wearing masks.

“There is a potential that we could have no fans," said Jon Webster, Covid-19 project manager on Tuesday. "We don’t want to do that.”

Meanwhile, Allen Theatres is inviting NMSU fans to watch Saturday's game for free at the Cineport 10 in Las Cruces.

"Don't forget to treat yourself to some hot, buttery popcorn and a refreshing Coca-Cola from our concession stand!" the post reads.

Allen Theatres does advertise inside the Pan American Center, according to the university.

"The Allen Family are tremendous supporters of NMSU," Bannister wrote.

Russell Allen declined to comment Friday afternoon, but he did confirm he has 100 seats available to watch Saturday's game.

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Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is a former ABC-7 New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and weekend evening newscast anchor.


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