And now for something completely different regarding the COVID-19 bylaw blitz: meet a Toronto man who was nailed with an $880 fine for… complying with the bylaw officer’s request?!
Since we launched the Fight the Fines website last month, we have uncovered dozens of stories regarding bylaw and law enforcement behaving in an egregious way as they seemingly reinvent themselves as the “Coronavirus Cops.”
But the case of Richard Paridiso might be the most outrageous one to date.
Bylaw officers catch Paridiso making call on park bench
Here's the skinny: on April 18, Paridiso rode his motorcycle to a public laneway just north of Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park. He parked the bike and then went to sit on a park bench, by himself, next to the vacant baseball diamond.
Paridiso still had his helmet on and was engaged in a cellphone call with a friend, so it was understandable that he didn’t initially hear a pair of bylaw officers in a pickup truck parked some 30 metres who were barking orders at him.
No loitering in Trinity Bellwoods due to COVID
When Paridiso paused the call and removed his helmet, one of the officers told him that he was not allowed to sit on the park bench due to the COVID-19 safety protocols.
Paridiso asked it he could merely stand on park property to complete his phone call, and the answer was no: he could only walk through the park; he could not linger.
Paridiso then snapped some photos of the bylaw officer, who evidently did not appreciate that even though Paridiso was well in his rights to document the encounter.
Ticketed after leaving park, complying with bylaw officers
Still, perhaps the photography was Paridiso’s undoing?
Because even though Paridiso got off the park bench, walked north and exited the park, as he stood by his motorcycle on the public laneway to complete his phone call, the bylaw officer approached him yet again.
And get this: the bylaw officer asked Paridiso for his identification (Paridiso complied) and then a few minutes later presented him with an $880 fine.
That’s right: Richard Paridiso was being penalized for… OBEYING THE LAW!
Well, let’s see how this one plays out in a court of law once things get back to normal.
Paridiso is now being represented by our ace criminal lawyer Sam Goldstein. Learn more about how to support our campaign at FightTheFines.com.