A video that surfaced online of a bylaw officer being yelled at in Oshawa is gaining attention.
The staff member was responding to a gathering in a local park when he was taunted out of the area by several people yelling at him to leave. Oshawa’s mayor, Dan Carter says they are there for a reason.
“I understand that they are angry, I understand that they’ve had enough of COVID-19,” says Mayor Carter.
“Our bylaw officers are there because of the reason that not only do they care about the community, but they care about your families.”
The staff member was called out to the area of Stone Crest Parkette in North Oshawa for what was being called a large gathering.
More than 70 people were in attendance, all appearing not to wear masks or be social distancing. But the organizer, Dermot Palmeroy says it was a sign of protest, against what they say are rules that are hurting their kids.
“We’re just doing it for the kids to get them out. At the same time to get people out from the community, out talking to each other,” says Palmeroy.
The video has amassed more than 28K views on Instagram. Dermot, an Oshawa parent can be seeing yelling at the officer to get out of the park. When Global News asked him why they were yelling at the Oshawa staff member, he says the video doesn’t tell the whole story.
“What you didn’t see is we had a conversation with him off camera before. And he was threatening us all with fines and all this. And then he started video taping the kids and obviously parents got upset.”
“We have rights to peacefully assemble,” says Palmeroy. “No one has a right to tell us to stay in our house.”
But the city says the video is only to document what happened. Mayor Carter says people need to be patient with city staff.
“Let us take a step backward and understand that the job they are doing is difficult. And that they are trying to do their very best under very stressful periods of time too.”
Oshawa mother Melissa Mccann decided to join the gathering as well. She says although she understands concerns surrounding COVID-19 — she believes limiting how children socialize is hurting more than helping them.
“The playground is for children. It’s for play, it’s to socialize. It’s for kids to be kids. And they’re not getting that. So when bylaw is shutting it down, it’s really sad.”
No tickets were handed out at the time.
The city is asking residents to be mindful of following COVID safety protocols.