In San Francisco’s Mission District, what should’ve been an impromptu yet enjoyable skateboarding event ended up turning into something resembling a brawl with law enforcement.
The Los Angeles Times reports that the encounter started at around 7 p.m. at a competition called a “hill bombing.” About 11 million people self-report that they enjoy skateboarding on a regular basis, but it can definitely cause injuries, and when law enforcement was called to Dolores Park to help an injured skateboarder, another rider collided with an officer, sending the rider through the air.
Many of the almost 300 onlookers say the injury looked deliberate, and videos posted to Twitter clearly show that the officer was, in fact, standing in the center of the street.
“Dude, a cop just (messed) him up,” one witness said.
The video also shows just how steep the street was and how fast the riders were going.
“It seems pretty obvious to me that the police officer just kind of stuck his shoulder out, and you know, it’s a really dangerous, reckless thing to do at that speed,” said Chris Atwood in an interview with CBS.
Incidents such as these inevitably beg the question as to whether or not the use of police body cameras should be more heavily enforced. While it is estimated that 67% of burglaries can be avoided by the installation of video surveillance, it’s not at all a stretch to say that video surveillance can also improve the conduct of law enforcement, who should be held to higher standards upholding the law as it is.
The skater was taken to the hospital and treated for minor, but unspecified, injuries, and the park was shut down.
As a result of the confrontation, however, multiple police cruisers were defaced, and one even had its windows smashed.
Although nobody was arrested, the investigation is still underway.
Probably the biggest propeller in this story was social media.
Witness Joel Hamill posted his own video as well. “Purposely push skateboarder into car causing serious injury,” he Tweeted as a caption.
“We literally shut down Dolores Street,” a 22-year-old San Francisco skater who identified himself only as Pete told SF Gate. “They (police) were doing their job. That doesn’t mean we always agree with it … It got very very serious very fast. Then the cops got involved and the skaters got mad.”
Grace Gatpandan, police spokesperson, fully supports the actions of the officers.
“The officers were just trying to keep them safe when this all happened,” she said.