by Debra Heine
UPDATE: The Brighton Police Department issued a statement Wednesday saying they offered to meet with Matt Mooney in person and apologize, for the Brighton-area man refused.
Today, Acting City Manager Marv Falconburg reached out to Brighton resident Matt Mooney by telephone in an effort to arrange a meeting in person with Falconburg and Brighton Police Commander Frank Acosta to offer an apology by Brighton Police Department in person. Falconburg conveyed an apology, however, Mr. Mooney has declined the offer for an in person meeting.
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A father was arrested and cuffed in front of his 6-year-old daughter at a park in Brighton, Colorado, Sunday afternoon, after he allegedly violated the state’s social distancing guidelines and refused to show his identification to the police.
Now Matt Mooney, 33, thinks the police owe him an apology, according to FOX31.
Matt Mooney feels Brighton police owe him a huge apology. https://t.co/Xu16wwKwP0
— FOX31 Denver KDVR (@KDVR) April 7, 2020
Brighton is a suburb northeast of Denver.
Mooney said he refused to show his I.D. to the three police officers who accosted him because he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong by playing tee-ball with his wife and daughter at the park.
He told Fox31 Problem Solvers that the cops told him that if her didn’t give them his information they would handcuff him in front of his daughter.
“She’s like, ‘Daddy, I don’t want you to get arrested.’ At this point I’m thinking, ‘There’s no way they’re going to arrest me, this is insane.’ I’m telling her, ‘Don’t worry, Daddy’s not going to get arrested. I’ve done nothing wrong. Don’t worry about it,’ and then they arrest me.”
Former Brighton City Councilman Kirby Wallin was on the scene and recorded much of the incident on his cellphone.
“He’s being taken by the Brighton police for playing softball with his daughter in an empty park,” Wallin said in the video. He estimated the size of the park to be about 30 to 40 acres.
Wallin told Fox 31 Problem Solvers,”I certainly don’t think it’s appropriate for a father to be handcuffed in front of his family.”
The sign at Donelson Park said “Closed” but in smaller print reads, “in groups of no more than 4 persons, parks remain open for walking, hiking, biking, running and similar activities.”
Mooney, who was there with just his wife and daughter, argued that it was the officers who were violating the social distancing guidelines.
“During the contact, none of the officers had masks on, none of them had gloves on, and they’re in my face handcuffing me, they’re touching me,” he said.
The dad said he spent about 10 minutes in the back of a patrol car before he was released.
“If we’re going to go ahead and start arresting people for no reason in front of their 6-year-old daughter, you’re just going to cause more problems later on,” he said.
Wallin said that there should be “an investigation of the incident and an explanation to the community.”
Brighton police posted a statement on its Facebook page Sunday night that seemed to indicate that the incident is under investigation.
“The Brighton Police Department is conducting an investigation into a situation that occurred late this afternoon at Donelson Park. This is an active investigation and so we are unable to provide additional information until the investigation is complete.”
Mooney said he didn’t see the need for a complicated investigation and demanded a quick and public apology from the Brighton police.
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Debra Heine is a reporter at American Greatness