Dozens of skateboarders watched as a state trooper arrested a man for allegedly trespassing into a local skate park Sunday evening.
Video of the confrontation shows a trooper violently handcuffing and arresting Derek Hanlon.
Hanlon told Boston 25 News he and Askia Burns, who was also arrested, have donated to the park, been involved in the skateboarding community and waited years for the park to be built. They say they were doing nothing wrong and had every reason to think they could be in the park, but instead, ended up in court Monday.
After being arraigned on charges of trespassing and resisting arrest, Hanlon says police went too far. Burns' charges have since been dropped.
"It’s just inexcusable," said Hanlon. "There’s no reason for it."
About 40 people were skateboarding at the Lynch Family Skate Park in Cambridge at around 8:30 p.m. when a trooper arrived and ordered everyone to leave, telling them the park was closed.
State Police told Boston 25 News in a statement:
“Per DCR rules, the skate park closes at dusk, as noted on a sign hanging in the park. The Trooper issued 6 to 8 requests from his cruiser's PA system and in person after exiting the cruiser, instructing the skaters to leave, Hanlon continued to refuse to leave, leaving the Trooper no choice but to arrest him."
"He did try to announce something over his PA system, [but] nobody could hear it, it was scratchy," said Hanlon. "He got out of his car and shouted a little bit. Again, no one could hear what he was saying."
Burns says they all thought the park was still open because the lights were still on and they never saw any signs with hours posted. Skateboarders also pointed out an August tweet from the Charles River Conservancy, saying the lights at the park are officially up and running so as the days get shorter in the fall, skaters will get to skate into the evening.
"It was all completely unnecessary," said Hanlon. "I was just skateboarding at the skate park after a hard day’s work. I've never had anything on my record. I've never been arrested. I've never been fingerprinted, and that all changed last night."
"Your emotions are really high, you don't know what to do and we were all just scared," said Burns.
Officials told Boston 25 News the sign stating the early closing hours was likely taken down, but a new one was installed Monday morning, making it clear the park closed at dark. New signs will announce the new 9 p.m. closing time.
© 2020 Cox Media Group