MPP Randy Hillier has made the news for criticizing the Ford government over face coverings and other pandemic restrictions.
Now, however, one of Hillier’s sons is making news for not wearing a mask at a Perth, Ont., bar.
The incident allegedly resulted in Clayton Hillier being tasered by police, and MPP Hillier, who sits as an independent, complaining about a heavy-handed police response.
On Monday, the bar owner tells his side of what happened Friday night.
“Even when the police officers (came in) … they (Hillier’s sons) were still defiantly standing in this area (of the bar) without a mask on, saying … ‘We’re not leaving,'” says Dimitrios Kotsovolos, co-owner of the Golden Arrow Pub.
That exchange led to an altercation with the OPP outside the pub, an incident that was captured on video.
The dark footage appears to show Randy Hillier’s sons, Dillion and Clayton, along with a friend allegedly arguing with police.
According to Kotsovolos, three men entered his bar not wearing masks, and were asked to put them on.
“And then they became belligerent to me and then they tried to go get a drink,” says Kotsovolos, “and the bartender said, ‘I refuse to serve you.'”
That is when Kotsovolos called police.
“And when the police came … the same thing happened to the officers,” says Kotsovolos, “They (Hillier’s sons) started berating them (police).
“Swearing at them, at the police officers … one guy went out and the other person had to get escorted out.”
That is when everything spilled outside on the sidewalk, in front of the pub.
According to Kotsovolos, six police officers were trying to de-escalate a situation that was getting out of control.
On the video, filmed by a female who didn’t want to be identified, she can be heard saying, “They’re trying to fight the cops!”
Moments later, the discharge of a taser can be heard.
The female voice on the video says, “They (police) just tasered him!”
On Saturday afternoon, MPP Randy Hillier told Global News that his two sons were only trying to explain to police that their friend is exempt from wearing a face mask.
“The public health orders provide an exemption for people who are unable to wear a mask,” says Hillier, “and it calls on establishments and people to be accepting and to be accommodating of those people who are unable to wear a mask.”
Kotsovolos says he is aware that some people are exempt from wearing a mask, but the reason he called police is he felt threatened and feared for his staff.
Businessman Tom Burns witnessed the altercation outside the pub, across the street from his jewelry store.
“The way the people treated the police officers in this situation … the cursing and the swearing”, says Burns, “They have no respect for the police and I just felt really bad for the police having to deal with these people.”
The OPP confirm a taser was used — Hillier says it was deployed against his son, Clayton.
Bill Dickson, media relations coordinator for OPP East Region, would not give further comment Monday, but in a release on Saturday, stated, “While one individual left voluntarily, others were escorted from the location.
“Once outside, individuals refused to leave the area and became assaultive with officers.”
Hillier’s son, Dillon, and a friend were arrested for public intoxication and released Saturday morning.
Hillier has also sent a letter to the OPP Commissioner, complaining about the aggressive response by police, and saying he wants their conduct investigated.
The letter says police have to be more sensitive to perceived violations of the face-covering policies.
Hillier also says the use of tasers should be limited to situations where there is an imminent threat, and he suggests that was not the case with this incident.