Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Controversial Skateboarding Charge Dismissed in Nazareth

Back in July, I told you about Nazareth's bad attitude towards skateboarders. Naturally this extended to local police. They cited at least one young man who dared skateboard on an unused basketball court located right next to the damn skatepark!

He was fined $157, and his board was confiscated as "evidence" for over a week. He had no idea that he was doing anything illegal because no signs are posted that prohibit skateboards in that area of the park, and the basketball court is right next to the frickin' skatepark.

This is pure harassment. In addition to the lack of notice, this skater was bothering no one. He even asked basketball players on the other court for permission before he began grinding. Police were told he had their permission, but that didn't matter.

At the time, I told you those charges should be taken from a basketball court to a real court because they would never stand up to scrutiny. Nazareth's finest, if they had any sense, would have dismissed the charges on their own motion.

But they refused, and when local attorney Gary Asteak heard the facts, he agreed to represent this young man.

At today's hearing, the case was quickly dismissed. Nazareth police had publicly argued we all have an affirmative obligation to familiarize ourselves with local park rules and regulations whenever we step foot inside a park. But attitudes change over time. And today, police "forgot" to produce a certified copy of the ordinance.

Asteak seized on this technicality, and the case was quickly blown out.

When I originally wrote about this incident, I was deeply concerned that police harassment would continue. But I was wrong. The skatepark has really changed skating patterns in the borough. And when goofy councilman Conrad Bowers arbitrarily decided to close the skatepark for a few hours this summer, it was actually police who spoke up for the kids. Acting police chief Alan Koch went toe to toe with Bowers, whose misguided decision to close the skatepark was quickly reversed.

I hope today's dismissal signals the end of Nazareth's bad skateboarding attitude. The young skateboarder who was cited won't be charged again anytime soon. He broke his ankle skateboarding.

At the skatepark.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope he doesn't sue over the broken ankle.

A.J. Cordi said...

As long as it wasn't caused by the park or by a ramp obstruction, there shouldn't be anything to worry about.

Getting hurt is a part of skating (as stupid as that may sound.) Skaters accept this. One who hasn't probably wouldn't take the risk skating.

Bernie O'Hare said...

No one has even hinted at a suit.

Anonymous said...

i completely disagree towards this being a crime its a discrass togive up our dreams just for a few simple laws. fight the law dont give up.

Anonymous said...

i completely disagree towards this being a crime its a discrass togive up our dreams just for a few simple laws. fight the law dont give up.