A ‘sovereign citizen’ who was taken down by no-nonsense cops for failing to wear a mask has taught his daughter to break into a play park, shut down because of coronavirus.
Rick Mejia, from Melbourne, was arrested on Tuesday night and fined $1,652 after he filmed himself arguing with officers inside a 7-Eleven service station in Sunshine minutes before the 8pm curfew.
Just a week before his arrest, the anti-masker shared a video of his daughter ripping boundary tape off closed play equipment.
All parks were closed on Sunday along with other non-essential services as Victoria enters a strict six week lockdown.
‘They closed down your park, didn’t they,’ he said to the little girl – who looks no older than eight – as she ran around ripping the tape from the playground.
‘Come on, rip,’ she said in the video. ‘Rip, rip, rip. Go away you silly coronavirus, no one cares.’
Mejia allowed the young girl to throw the plastic tape on the ground as she made her way through the park.
In the footage, he can be heard saying his daughter was ‘cleaning up the park to ‘help the other children play on the playground’.
‘You’re trying to do it for the other kids, aren’t you? You want to tell them that they can play. That its not fair,’ he said.
In the background, another girl asked if they could leave the playground and head somewhere else.
Later in the clip, his daughter says ‘help me dad, it’s a bit tough’ as she tries to rip the tape from the slide.
Parks were taped off by council rangers following Premier Daniel Andrews’ decision to put the state back into lockdown in an attempt to control the spiralling COVID-19 situation.
A total of 13,469 cases have been identified in the nation’s COVID-capital, which has also recorded 170 deaths.
‘No mask, will not comply. No thank you. I do not consent,’ Mejia said in the video.
He also criticised local children who walked past the playground with their families.
One of the children said ‘aren’t we in lockdown’ as they made their way past the gated park.
‘Even the kids have been brainwashed,’ Mejia told his young daughter as she made her way down the slide. ‘I feel sorry for them, but we’re not here to educate them.’
The little girl responded by saying: ‘Don’t feel sorry.’
‘Once they start breaking through that mindset that the government’s told them they can’t do something and that you’re a free human being who can do what you wish,’ he added.
Mejia regularly shares content from other anti-maskers and conspiracy theorists to his own platforms.
Most recently, he shared a video discussing 5G conspiracy theories – which link the coronavirus crisis to telecommunications technologies.
He has also endorsed posts made by former chef Pete Evans – who has been widely condemned for spruiking scientifically dispelled theories.
But he has also reposted videos of known anti-masker James Bartolo, who first went viral for arguing with police at a COVID checkpoint.
Mejia swiftly shared footage of his own run-in with police on Tuesday night to social media, describing the officers involved as ‘power tripping cops’.
He was fined $1,652 for failing to provide his details and breaking Victoria’s new legislation, which was introduced to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Mejia told friends ‘they can stick it up their a**’ when asked about the infringement notice.
The dramatic footage came after coronavirus conspiracy theorist Eve Black was dramatically arrested last Thursday while refusing to give police her details at a checkpoint – having a week earlier successfully gamed the system.
Vision has also showed a mother being pinned to the ground by three police officers for allegedly breaking COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in Melbourne’s south-west on Saturday.
Mejia told the officers he was filming them ‘for evidence’ when he walked into the store with his brother.
He was asked why he wasn’t wearing a face mask and told police he had a ‘medical exemption’, but refused to elaborate or provide evidence he was exempt.
‘I don’t need to provide it to you. I don’t have to provide any ID either. I haven’t committed a crime. I’m free to go,’ he said.
But the officers stopped him as he tried to walk away, asking him again to explain why he was not wearing a mask in public.
‘We’re asking you what is your medical exemption. You do have to provide that to me,’ one officer said.
The policeman repeatedly asked him to provide his identification, but the man wouldn’t budge, this time demanding the officer hand over his orders in writing.
‘Show me the law, piece of paperwork that shows exactly what you’re trying to state,’ the man continued.
‘I told you I’ve got a medical exemption. We have both got asthma. We are free to go.’
Police tell him to show evidence he is an asthmatic, but he refuses.
Officers calmly told him refusing to obey their directions is against the law.
‘You have committed a crime,’ the officer said.
‘One is you’re not showing your identification and the second is you’re not wearing a mask.’
At this point the police had enough as the man continued with his ‘sovereign citizen’ jargon.
‘Stop talking over me. Be quiet. You want to be arrested? Put your phone away, you’re under arrest,’ the officer said as the video cut out.
Footage of the arrest was shared alongside an image of the $1,652 penalty notice the man received for breaching COVID-19 health orders.
Mejia’s Facebook page is littered with anti-5G propaganda videos, as well as likening wearing a face mask to ‘slavery’.
He has also shared bizarre posts from ‘The Conscious Truth Network’ group run by James Bartolo which offers to help followers ‘unplug from the matrix.’
One video advises viewers they have been ‘deceived by the government’ through a ‘fraudulent’ legal system which should be challenged by citizens.
He suggests road tolls, speeding fines, the ATO and even VicRoads are all ‘illegal and unlawful.’
Another video promotes an anti-vaccine message which suggests the government will be using inoculation to brainwash citizens.
So called ‘sovereign citizens’ are a loosely coordinated group who have provoked outrage with their stunts making a mockery of police checkpoints and mandatory mask laws.
Others have called masks the ‘mark of the beast’, bragged about talking their way past police blockades, and threatened officers checking they were self-isolating.
Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Rick Nugent slammed the movement in a strongly-worded statement this week.
‘Thankfully this selfish behaviour is an exception and the vast majority of people are doing the right thing to protect the health and safety of our community,’ he said.
‘However, the behaviour of those who blatantly choose to disregard the rules on the insistence their human rights being breached is alarming.
‘Worse yet, it seems these people are more interested in notoriety and getting likes on social media than the health and wellbeing of their fellow Victorians.
‘My message to anyone planning to break the rules is simple: No one has a human right to infect other people and place the entire Victoria community at risk.
‘In fact, this type of behaviour is childish and is completely unacceptable when police are working incredibly hard to keep the community safe.’
On Saturday, a mother was left with horrific bruises under her arms after a dramatic incident took place in Hoppers Crossing in Melbourne’s south-west.
The confronting footage, filmed by her daughter, shows the blonde woman screaming as the officers hold her face-down on the footpath and handcuff her arms behind her back.
Her terrified daughter is heard begging the officers to get off her mum, shouting ‘she’s in pain, she said she’s in pain’.
In a Facebook post, written by a friend, it was alleged the police officers deliberately pinched her mother during the arrest, leaving her battered and bruised.
An increasing number of Australians are refusing to provide their information to cops carrying out coronavirus spot checks, according to Victorian Police Commissioner Shane Patton.
Mr Patton slammed Victorians who think they are above the law and refer to themselves as ‘sovereign citizens’.
‘In the last week, we’ve seen a trend, an emergence of groups of people … small groups – but nonetheless concerning groups – who classify themselves as sovereign citizens, whatever that might mean. People who don’t think the law applies to them,’ he said on Tuesday.
‘We’ve seen them at checkpoints baiting police, not providing a name and address.
‘On at least four occasions in the last week, we’ve had to smash the windows of cars and pull people out to provide details because they weren’t adhering to the Chief Health Officer guidelines, they weren’t providing their name and address.’
His choice words come nearly a week after coronavirus conspiracy theorist Eve Black was dramatically arrested while refusing to give police her details at a checkpoint.
Black gloated in a Facebook video about making it through a Melbourne COVID-19 roadblock without telling officers where she was going.
Black filmed and uploaded to Facebook her first, successful, attempt at gaming the system on July 23.
When the officer asked her where she was headed and why she was attempting to leave, Black simply told him she didn’t need to share that information.
The officer eventually waved her through as she sped off laughing and celebrating.
After that video went viral, the 28-year-old allegedly tried the same trick again in the inner-city suburb of Carlton last week but was far less successful.
‘She was asked to provide her name and address which she refused to do. Police then directed her to produce her driver’s licence and explain her reason for travel, which she also refused to comply with,’ Victoria Police said.
‘This led to police arresting her. During the arrest, police were forced to break the woman’s car window as she refused to speak to them, wind down her window, or step out of the vehicle.’
From this week, infected Victorians caught breaching isolation for a second time will be slapped with a $4957 on-the-spot fine – the highest police can issue.
In instances of repeat breaches, the person could be taken to court where the maximum penalty is $20,000.
‘We don’t want it to come to that. We want people to be where they are supposed to be. Because that is how we will all get past this,’ Premier Daniel Andrews said.
Those who are supposed to be self-isolating are also no longer allowed to exercise outside their homes, bringing Victoria in line with other states.
Australian Defence Force personnel and health officials conducted 3000 doorknocks of people who were supposed to be self-isolating and found more than 800 people were not home.
An additional 500 ADF personnel, 300 health staff and 250 police officers will be brought in for ‘random and repeated doorknocks’ at the home of every positive case.