Brighton police apologize for handcuffing man at park over stay-at-home order


BRIGHTON, Colo. — Brighton officials said they’ve apologized to a resident following an incident between the man and police officers at a park earlier this month, where officers handcuffed the man over the statewide stay-at-home order.

The officers — who weren’t wearing personal protective equipment, according to the detained man — let the man go at the scene, and police, in a statement, later apologized for their “overreach.”

In a new statement Wednesday, Brighton police said they had concluded their investigation into the incident and taken “necessary corrective action” for the officers involved, including emphasizing the importance of wearing protective equipment amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The officers on April 5 handcuffed Matt Mooney at Donelson Park, accusing the man and a group of people playing softball at the park of violating the statewide stay-at-home order.

Mooney, 33, told ABC News that he walked with his wife and six-year-old daughter to the park to play softball that day. Police told Mooney and the others to leave the park, claiming it was closed. But Mooney, a former Colorado State Patrol trooper, said he and his daughter were 15 feet away from the nearest person and were complying with social distancing guidelines.

When Mooney refused to provide his identification to the officers, he said the officers handcuffed him and put him in a patrol car for 10-15 minutes before letting him go.

Mooney said none of the officers were wearing protective gear, but one officer had a face mask hanging from his belt. In the statement Wednesday, police said they were emphasizing to officers the importance of always wearing proper protective equipment in public.