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Arrests and fines doled out for distasteful seasonal attire

Illustration: Jennifer Vo

This Halloween, Ottawa police are taking an active role in cracking down on distasteful costumes in the community.

Thanks to a new set of bylaws that were unanimously passed by city council this fall, police officers have been handing out fines, community service, and even jail time to those who sport costumes deemed lazy, douchey, or in very poor taste.

“Something had to be done after last year,” said Chief Charles Bordeleau. “I mean, there were reports of people walking around dressed up as human centipedes and condom dispensers. We had to draw the line somewhere.”

In preparation for this year’s festivities, Bordeleau ordered his patrol officers to study high profile news stories from 2014 in order to predict the different kinds of offensive costumes set to make their debut this year.

The list of offensive costumes include the likes of Michael Brown, the missing Nigerian girls, Oscar Pistorius, and a zombified version of any celebrity who has died this year.

Reportedly, this Halloween hasn’t disappointed in terms of eyebrow-raising attire so far. Outside of arresting a group of U of O students who still thought it was cool to dress up in Borat mankinis, the biggest perpetrators have been those decked out in blackface.

“When all is said and done, I’ve made around a dozen of these arrests,” said patrol officer Katrina Gillen. “I was really surprised. Not by the amount of people we locked up, but by the fact that blackface is still apparently a thing in 2014.”

Another big offender is the abundance of “sexy” female costume attire, which occasionally attracts police attention.

“There’s nothing wrong with wanting to dress ‘sexy’ for Halloween,” said officer Gillen. “But if you do, try and use common sense. Dressing like a sexy terrorist, a sexy piece of meat, or a sexy Bert and Ernie duo is definitely worthy of an arrest.”

While some are hesitant about these new enforcement policies, others are wholeheartedly endorsing the new police action, especially when it comes to their policies on arresting people who are dressed as “themselves” for Halloween.

“It’s about damn time,” said Rhonda Gregs, a Lowertown resident. “If one more trick-or-treater came to my door in plain clothes asking me for candy, I was going to snap. I say, lock them up and throw away the key.”

However, some are not happy with the way authorities are going about their business. Much has been made about the case of Dominic Reddick, a local civil servant who was arrested for allegedly dressing up as an Ebola victim to a local fraternity party.

“Like I told the police, that wasn’t an Ebola costume, it was just a zombie getup,” Reddick told the Tomato. “I just happen to be going with a CDC-related theme this year.”

Reddick is pursuing litigation against Ottawa police, but Bordeleau said they have no plans of slowing down with their new enforcement policy.

In fact, Bordeleau told the Tomato that preliminary plans are already being laid out to apply this bad costume arrest policy to other seasonal holidays.

“I’ll make it my sworn duty to make sure nobody has to endure the sight of another ironic ugly Christmas sweater ever again,” he said. “That’s a promise.”