United States

Dad Arrested for Throwing a Ball With His 6-Year-Old Daughter in a Near-Empty Park

Police officers enforcing social distancing rules arrested a father on Sunday for throwing a ball with his 6-year-old daughter in a near-empty park.

Matt Mooney, 33, was handcuffed by police in Brighton, Colorado after he walked with his wife and young daughter to a nearby park to play softball alone.

“We’re just having a good time, not near anybody else,” Mooney told ABC News. “The next closest person is at least 15 feet away from me and my daughter at this point.”

Shortly after, police arrived at the park and told him and others in the area to leave. Mooney, a former Colorado State Patrol trooper, told the officers that he was familiar with the rules and believed he and his family were in compliance.

After police demanded his identification, Mooney refused because he had not broken any laws.

“Well, they didn’t like that idea,” Mooney said. “They then proceeded to make a threat against me saying, ‘If you don’t give us your identification, if you don’t identify yourself, we’re going to put you in handcuffs in front of your 6-year-old daughter.”

Mooney was then arrested and placed in a patrol car for 10 to 15 minutes before the officers released him without issuing a citation.

Mooney went on to say, it was the arresting officers who were violating social distancing guidelines.

“During the contact, none of the officers had masks on, none of them had gloves, and they’re in my face handcuffing me, they’re touching me,” he said.

Brighton Police Department issued a statement following the arrest, saying it was “deeply sorry” for the incident and is conducting an internal investigation.

“While the investigation sorts through the different versions of what took place by witnesses who were at the park, it is evident there was an overreach by our police officers,” the statement said.

“It is imperative that we improve communication with our front line first responders so they are up to date on the latest rules in place regarding COVID-19 for addressing public safety.”

Elsewhere in the country, prisons are releasing hundreds of inmates as part of its COVID-19 pandemic response. Or was it just to make room for good dads who dare to play catch with their kids?

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