Skip to Content

Former CSP trooper arrested in park for throwing ball with daughter due to coronavirus social distancing rules

Matt Mooney, 33, says he was handcuffed in front of his 6-year-old daughter for allegedly not respecting social distancing rules at a Brighton, Colo., park. Police later apologized for the incident.
Courtesy Kirby Wallin
Matt Mooney, 33, says he was handcuffed in front of his 6-year-old daughter for allegedly not respecting social distancing rules at a Brighton, Colo., park. Police later apologized for the incident.

BRIGHTON, Colo. (ABC News) - In an incident caught on video, a former Colorado State Patrol trooper said he was handcuffed in front of his 6-year old daughter on a near-empty softball field Sunday by Brighton police officers enforcing social distancing rules, according to ABC News. The department apologized Tuesday afternoon, calling the incident an "overreach by our police officers."

Matt Mooney, 33, told ABC News he walked with his wife and daughter from their home to a nearby park Sunday to play softball.

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

Matt Mooney, 33, says he was handcuffed in front of his 6-year-old daughter for allegedly not respecting social distancing rules at a Brighton, Colo., park. Police later apologized for the incident.

Police arrived soon after, Mooney said, telling him and others in the area to leave because the park was closed.

Mooney said he told officers that he was familiar with the posted rules and believed he and his family were in compliance and practicing proper social distancing. He said he refused to provide his identification when officers asked for it because he had not broken any law.

"Well, they didn't like that idea. 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 says he was handcuffed in front of his 6-year-old daughter for allegedly not respecting social distancing rules at a Brighton, Colo., park. Police later apologized for the incident.

Mooney said officers handcuffed him and placed him in a patrol car for about 10 to 15 minutes while they phoned a supervisor for guidance. The incident was captured on cellphone footage by former Brighton City Councilman Kirby Wallin.

"Yeah, it's Sunday and the Brighton police are apparently arresting a dad for throwing a ball to his daughter," Wallin is heard saying on the video.

In a statement, the Brighton Police Department said it was "deeply sorry" for the incident and is conducting an internal investigation.

Matt Mooney, 33, says he was handcuffed in front of his 6-year-old daughter for allegedly not respecting social distancing rules at a Brighton, Colo., park. Police later apologized for the incident.

"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."

Mooney, who said he's hired an attorney and is considering legal action against the city, declined to comment on the apology.

The former state patrol trooper, who now runs a construction company, said officers eventually let him go without issuing a citation.

Mooney said his 6-year-old daughter was scared to see her father placed in handcuffs, but said she learned a valuable lesson.

"She's learned that our constitutional rights are something worth standing up for," Mooney said. "She got to witness a violation of civil rights. She got to witness an unlawful order by the police."

In addition, Mooney said none of the officers were wearing protective gear, although he saw a face mask hanging from an officer's belt.

"They could very simply be asymptomatic, not even know they're sick, and now I've been exposed. My daughter's been exposed; my wife's been exposed," said Mooney.

abc-news

Comments

24 Comments

  1. “In a statement, the Brighton Police Department said it was “deeply sorry” for the incident…”

    They always get “deeply sorry” when they know they violated someone’s civil rights and could get their pants sued off.

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of places making up new rules without regard to the Bill of Rights, and employing officers not competent enough to recognize that. Too many young cops who are always looking for opportunities to display their authority, regardless of justification.

  2. If anyone should know about the lock down rules it should be a cop, its so sad that more people do not follow it than do

    1. You should read the article. They had to let him go as they had gone too far. You do not have to “social distance” from a family member you live with. What’s he gonna do if he has to drive her somewhere, tie her to the roof? Use some common sense!

  3. Messy Stuff.
    .
    In a previous KRDO article, the CSPD stated the calls for stay-at-home order violations are going to the wrong agency.
    .
    Maybe the question-dodging governor Poleazz can answer for the Brighton PD. (MAYBE NOT).
    .

    1. Your traditional homophobic rants, Packs A 45, just illustrate the sexuality issues you are struggling with. Be yourself. If you’re attracted to that 18 year old stock boy at work, let him know…you’ll never be able to address your issues unless you try. Then, if you don’t have any heterosexual urges after that, you can come out as full-on Gay!
      (You’re welcome)

  4. Clearly the Brighton Police Department violated many more rules of distancing than the person they were handcuffing. Those officers obviously need more training before being allowed on the streets without a supervisor. The fact that the person concerned happened to be a former CSP Trooper is irrelevant, although he should have been aware that the park was closed if he was that well-informed and law-abiding…

    1. Part of a video that is associated with this story clearly shows newly modified signage that this type of activity IS allowed at that park.
      This has gone national- GOOD JOB ONCE AGAIN COLORADO LE

  5. In case anyone missed one of the 5 times it was said in this article, he was handcuffed in front of his six year old daughter.

    1. That’s what happens when you don’t comply with the police. As a former police officer, he knows how important it is for a subject to comply, with a request from officers. Would have let something slide when he was a state police officer. I suspect not.

  6. An out of control Marxist governor and a totalitarian police state, what could possibly go wrong?

  7. Mooney and his daughter were in compliance with park rules as the sign there states closed to groups of 6 or more. He and his daughter are clearly less than six though I doubt jackbooted cops and marxists can count.

    Based on information from another report, this incident was precipitated by a call from an anonymous snitch to complain that people were *GASP* out in public rather than huddling in fear in their basements. No surprise that KRDuuh-OH! omitted this part since they are proponents of the “tell on your neighbors” movement.

    1. You might have had a good argument for the last sentence of your post if KRDO was the original source for the article. HOWEVER, this is an ABC News article (please review the byline!) and as such cannot be changed/modified by other outlets such as KRDO due to copyright issues.

  8. The officers need to be charged with assault seeing that they failed to wear proper protective gear.

  9. The police were actually following the law and the father wasn’t: 1) The father was not disobeying the stay at home order. 2) The father didn’t provide identification to Law Enforcement as required by law. Note that per Colorado law that if the police reasonably believe you are breaking a law you MUST provide ID. You don’t get to decide whether they’re correct or not about you breaking a law. You suspects got to decide it would be damn near impossible for Police to do their job now wouldn’t it?

  10. Instead of being a smart guy, he should have complied with the police officer. He should have taught his daughter the lesson, that you should cooperate. Instead, he wanted to show off in front of his daughter, and tell them how smart he was. Were he a member of a minority group (we’ve all seen the incidents), he would have been slammed to the ground in front of his daughter, put in a chokehold and would be lucky if that was all that happened.

  11. put those rookies on TP guard duty at the local supermarket.
    Then they can hassle folks who try to take more than one packet of hiney-wipe

Comments are closed.

Skip to content