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.
On Sunday, at about 4:30 p.m., officers were dispatched to respond to a complaint from a concerned citizen about a large group of people gathering at Donelson Park. Upon arrival, officers encountered a group of about 12-15 people who appeared to be playing softball. Although the officers asked them to disperse due to the park being closed, which was incorrect, disbursement was needed due to the state’s public health order regarding group gathering.
The Brighton Police Department is currently conducting an internal investigation into what led to officers detaining Mr. Mooney while responding to the complaint. 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.
As officers are required to interpret several layers of state public health orders and local closures as they change, there may have been a misunderstanding about the park closure. 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.
This is an opportunity for us to come together and do better for the community. We are deeply sorry for the events that took place on Sunday and the impact on Mr. Mooney, his family, and the community.