"Are you serious?"
That was the reaction by Steve Malfatto after an Oceanside police officer gave him a citation for not wearing a helmet inside a city skate park on Oct. 29.
Malfatto is upset because he was wearing sandals, didn't have a skateboard, and was simply holding his 5-year-old son's hand as he learned how to skate at the North River Road complex.
"You would normally think you needed a helmet if you skating the park right? That's what my impression was," Malfatto said. "I was just being a responsible parent more than anything. You know, just making sure my son didn't fall down 'cause he is 5."
Malfatto noticed a police officer writing a group of teenagers citations for not wearing helmets and thought it would be a good chance to use the flat part of the park to continue teaching his son to skate without any other people around. His son was equipped with a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads and wrist guards. The officer promptly called him over as soon as he stepped into the park.
"So, we walk over, and I'm thinking the cop is going to use my son as an example to these kids," said Malfatto, who instead got a ticket, which later arrived in the mail as a $275 citation.
Malfatto plans on fighting the citation next month. The Oceanside Police Department was looking into the matter but did not return calls on Monday with a comment.