San Francisco, CA — Police are remaining tight-lipped on the actions of one of their officers this week who was seen on video allegedly shoving a skateboarding man, causing him to go flying over the police cruiser. The skateboarding man was severely injured and hospitalized.
An impromptu skateboard rally emerged Tuesday afternoon near Dolores Park in San Francisco and quickly devolved into chaos as police in riot gear descended on the scene.
According to San Francisco Police Officer Grace Gatpandan, police were not called to the scene over complaints but because a skateboarder had been injured. However, when police arrived, they blocked the roads and attempted to break up the unofficial show.
Their attempts to break up the show were apparently met with resistance from some of the skaters who allegedly shouted and threw objects at the cops. The situation came to a head when a man on a skateboard was seen skating down the street and attempting to pass an officer on foot.
The officer — apparently infuriated by the fact that people were skateboarding near him — appeared to shove the skater, causing him to smash into the cruiser and go hurling through the air, and then smashing down into the pavement.
According to police, two cruisers were vandalized and an officer was allegedly injured. The man on the skateboard who was shoved by the cop, however, was not reported to have been involved in any of the altercations.
Despite police claiming the need for riot gear and violent escalation, the turmoil lasted less than two hours and police reported zero arrests.
Police Officer Robert Rueca attempted to downplay the apparent act of aggression and told SF Gate that the cop and the skater actually just collided. However, in the slow motion version of the video below, you can clearly see the officer extend his arm in a deliberate attempt to hit the skater.
Oddly enough, Rueca said that the officer in the video below — who does not appear injured at all after the collision — was taken to a hospital to be treated for non-life threatening injuries. The officer being taken to the hospital was likely a move to create a record of injury to attempt to collaborate the story of an accidental collision in the likely event of a lawsuit.
There are no reports of an investigation being launched into the officer’s actions nor have police released the officer’s identity.
While there are reports on the severity of the skateboarder’s injury, the detail and extent of the injuries are unknown. The Free Thought Project will update this story as necessary when new details emerge.
It’s quite the reality that cops and skateboarders are not known for their cordial relationships. One has incessantly sought to ruin the other’s day since Larry Stevenson decided to put a surfboard on wheels.
Skaters are most assuredly not known for their respect of authority either, in fact, it is quite the opposite.
In 2013, the Free Thought Project Documented a similar event in New York at which hundreds of skaters interacted with police.
In that instance, however, police did not severely injure anyone. In fact, the only injuries at the event in the video below were the pride of the NYPD cops who failed miserably at attempting to stop the impromptu skating event.
The cops in the videos above would do well to take a page out of the book of Officer Joel Zwicky, “Skateboard Cop,” of the Green Bay Police Department.
Zwicky is not your typical cop, for starters, instead of harassing skaters, he’s shredding right next to them.
Instead of lobbying for more strict laws on skateboarding, he’s fighting to get restrictions lifted; and he’s successful at it.
In 2014, Zwicky convinced the city of Green Bay to lift the skating ban on the 25-mile urban path known as Fox River Trail and his outreach has helped to bridge the gap between skateboarders and cops alike.
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