An unsettling interaction between a Massachusetts State Police officer and several skateboards that was caught on video has caused both outrage and confusion among skateboarders in the area.
The incident occurred during the evening hours of September 30th. Numerous individuals were hanging out at the Lynch Family Skatepark after hours. According to Dave Procopio, a State Police spokesman, these individuals were acting in violation of the park’s hours of operation. Procopio explained that the skatepark closes around dusk.
The Massachusetts State Police officer tasked with patrolling the area was making a routine check of the park when he noticed the group of skateboarders. He reportedly asked the group to leave the area multiple times. Most of the individuals ignored the officer.
27-year-old Derek Hanlon continued to skate and ignore the officer’s demands. According to Procopio, this left the officer “no choice” but to arrest him. The officer proceeded to struggle with the suspect while onlookers pulled out their cell phones to record video of the arrest.
About 30 skaters can be seen surrounding the suspect and cop in the video. Multiple witnesses were audibly upset when the trooper proceeded to grab Hanlon up, lift him high into the air and then dropped him face down onto the hard ground. After detaining Hanlon, the officer also arrested another skater, 24-year-old Askia Burns. They were both charged with trespassing. Hanlon was also charged with resisting arrest.
Many community members are confused about the arrests because the park reportedly has an unofficial closing time at around 9 P.M. when the park lights turn off for the night. Laura Jasinski, the executive director of the Charles Rive Conservancy, confirmed the park’s unofficial closing time.