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No helmet? That's a $275 ticket — even if you're not on wheels

A non-skating dad who was cited for not wearing a helmet inside a city skate park while holding his 5-year-old's hand is found guilty when he tries to fight the ticket in traffic court.
Image: Boy at skate park
Steve Malfatto's son was fully outfitted with safety gear.KNSD-TV
/ Source: NBCSanDiego.com

A dad who was baffled when an Oceanside police officer gave him a citation for not wearing a helmet inside a city skate park was found guilty Wednesday when he tried to fight the ticket in traffic court. But his fine was suspended.

“Are you serious?"

That was the reaction by Steve Malfatto after Officer Gary Truscott gave him a citation on Oct. 29.

Malfatto was 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 during an interview in December. "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 Officer Truscott 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, kneepads and wrist guards.

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Officer Truscott 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.

On Wednesday, a traffic court commissioner found Malfatto guilty, but suspended his fine.