Cambridge, MA – Friends filmed a video of their skateboarding buddy resisting arrest after he refused to leave a closed public skate park on Sunday evening (video below).
The video is now evidence that can be used against the suspet.
The video quickly went viral with its introduction on Facebook by Eric Abo which claimed the Massachusetts state trooper featured in the video was trying to close down the public park 30 minutes early.
“Derek was politely asking the officer why they were kicking 40+ people out of the skatepark at 8:30, when the lights shut off at 9:00,” Abo posted. “Officer Kamel gave no explanation of what crime he was committing, and he did not read him his rights. He kept inching closer to my friend while telling him to ‘keep his distance’, until he finally decided to throw him onto the ground and put him in cuffs with excessive force.”
Abo finished the post with a plea for people to share the “real account” of the incident that occurred on Sept. 30, but it was taken down shortly after 2 p.m. on Oct. 1, when Abo’s Facebook profile suddenly disappeared from public view.
The video had also been shared and remained available on other social media platforms.
A public information officer for the Massachusetts State Police told Blue Lives Matter that Abo’s description was not at all what happened.
The Lynch Family Skateboard Park in Cambridge is administered by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and closes at dusk, like many other state park and recreation facilities, according to Massachusetts State Trooper Dustin Fitch.
Trooper Fitch told Blue Lives Matter that there are DCR signs at the skatepark that say it closes at “dusk.”
He said the trooper featured in the video observed the skatepark full of people well after it was supposed to be closed.
“First, the trooper asked people to leave the skatepark over his cruiser’s PA system, multiple times” Trooper Fitch explained. “Then he got out of his vehicle and began walking around asking them to leave.”
The trooper pointed out the closing time on the sign, and warned the people in the park that they were trespassing and needed to leave.
A press statement released by the Massachusetts State Police on Monday afternoon said 27-year-old Derek Hanlon ignored the trooper and continued to skateboard.
The video began as the trooper, whom the state police have not identified, gave up trying to reason with Hanlon and tried to take him into custody for trespassing.
“Hey! Yo yo yo yo, c’mon dude,” his friends yelled in protest as the trooper attempted to put the man’s arms behind his back.
The man, who held a skateboard in one hand, fought the trooper from the start.
“I’m in a public place sir. Sir, sir, sir, sir. I’m in a public place,” Hanlon insisted on the video as he finally dropped his skateboard. “This park is open til nine.”
“Okay. Put your hand behind your back. Don’t resist,” the trooper told him in a calm voice as he struggled to get Hanlon’s arms under control.
“I’m just skateboarding in a public space…” Hanlon babbled as he resisted the trooper’s attempts to handcuff him in the video.
“Hands behind your back. Hands behind your back,” the trooper commanded.
“Don’t resist,” he repeated multiple times.
“I donated money for these lights, sir!” Hanlon yelled at the officer as he continued to resist arrest.
“Yo, let him go. Let him go! He didn’t do anything,” a friend off-camera yelled in the video.
“Put your hands behind your back,” the trooper commanded him yet again.
“Please just let me go,” Hanlon pleaded in the video.
Finally, the video showed the trooper put his hands under the suspect’s arms and took the man down to the pavement.
Hanlon began kicking his legs and continued to resist as additional officers arrived to back up the trooper.
“Somebody get his badge number,” a voice off-camera yelled.
As the officers worked together to try to flip the man onto his stomach so they could handcuff him, he seemed determined to convince them he had done nothing wrong.
“Sir, I donated money for these lights to be here. Sir, I work during the day, I have to skate at night. I’m just skateboarding in a public skatepark, sir,” Hanlon insisted as they struggled to get his arms out from underneath him and into cuffs, the video showed.
All of a sudden, the man start screaming “aaahhh” as a third officer jumped into the fray to help handcuff him.
“I don’t understand what’s going on,” Hanlon screamed from his position face down on the ground as he continued to actively resist the officers.
“Excessive force! That’s excessive force,” one of his friends yelled from off-camera.
The video showed the officers got the man under control and then pulled him to his feet. The trooper put Hanlon in the back of his police cruiser while the other officers who had arrived to back him up proceeded to clear the skatepark.
Trooper Fitch told Blue Lives Matter that, overnight, somebody stole the sign with the park hours on it.
“Sometime overnight the sign was removed and the DCR put up a new sign this morning,” he said.
Trooper Fitch said the lights at the skatepark are new, and the policies surrounding them are still under discussion by DCR.
He said two people were arrested at the skatepark on Sunday night.
Hanlon was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest. Askia Burns, 24, was also arrested after he announced after he refused to leave and announced he would continue skating a soon as the officers left.
Both men were expected to appear in Cambridge District Court on Monday morning.
Carl Stevens, of WBZ NewsRadio, tweeted that he had been told DCR will install signs with extended hours in the next day or so.
You can see the video of the arrest below: