Skateboarders are criminals. There’s really no getting past that. We trespass. We deface public and private property. We “borrow” materials to build ramps, ledges, etc. So basically, from the moment we pick up a skateboard we are at odds with the police. There’s definitely a thrill to being someplace you’re not supposed to be and doing things you’re not supposed to do, but I don’t think that’s the driving force behind what makes skaters do those things. I think it simply stems from skaters looking at the world differently. We need to skate those spots regardless of the consequences.
Like most skaters, I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with the cops over the years. For the most part, those experiences were pretty tame. Some cops were nice and some weren’t, but I still grew up with a blind hatred for police because I felt like I was always being harassed for doing something I loved. I never stopped to think about the fact that they had a job to do and that’s all that they were doing.
It wasn’t until I moved to Florida that I really started to think about what police officers have to deal with on a regular basis. I got a job at a bar that employed off-duty cops as security. I watched as they put up with everything from just rude people to others trying to physically hurt them. I saw first-hand some of the dangerous positions they willingly put themselves in to protect others. My eyes opened to the pressures they had to endure.
Here’s the thing — cops are people. Some people are cool and some aren’t. When people treat other people poorly, they need to be called out. Recently, footage hit the interwebs of a 15-year-old boy being slammed to the ground and arrested in Tampa. When I see video like this it takes me right back to when I was young and had no respect for the police, but I have to stop and remind myself that regardless of his badge, this guy is just an asshole!
Originally posted here.