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Is there justice in the justice system?
I was summonsed to court by mail two weeks after the arrest of a teen CARRYING his skateboard down the sidewalk in front of my business of 15 years. I was charged with disorderly conduct, fined the maxamimum penalty $250.00 plus court costs, and sentenced to 5 days in jail or 20 hours community service with the Clinton County Skatepark Association for “Uttering Annoyingly.”
Definition of Utter: To use the voice to talk; Make sounds
Definition of Annoying: Causing annoyance; irritatingly bothersome
Ironically, the topic I was “uttering annoyingly” about was, in fact, the city ordinance pertaining to NO skateboards, rollarblades, bicycles, ect. permitted in the downtown historic district. I was reciting this ordinance because as the teen CARRYING the skateboard was sitting in the back of the police cruiser, handcuffed, a bicyclist rode by on the same sidewalk as the previous offender. As soon as I realized that the police officers(by this time there were several) were not interested in arresting the cyclist, I began to recite the city ordinance very loudly to bring attention to the unjust situation at hand. So, I agree the sound of the city ordinance being recited is in fact annoying!
Wilmington was named the nation’s first “Green Enterprise Zone” recently. Heaven forbid we allow any type of alternative transportation to and from the business district or in our downtown community areas! I assure you the last thing a person riding a bike, skateboard, scooter, or any other conveyance wants to do is hit someone or something. That really hurts!
After making an appointment with Councilwoman Cindy Peterson to discuss this matter, she assured me that she would get with Main Street Director Steve Brown to come up with a solution. Posting signs was suggested. I have yet to see the first one in the downtown area.
Personally, I think that slamming teenagers up against police cruisers and handcuffing them is NOT the right approach. “But maybe that’s how we do round here, no awe mean?”
now is the time to change for the positive and learn to accept people for who they are, not what they drive,where they live, or how they dress. These skater kids are all just trying to figure out who they are. The last thing they need is a cop giving them a hard time and making them feel like criminals just because they want to practice their sport, and transport themselves from point A to Point B on a board with four wheels. Maybe these kids don’t “fit in” to more structured sports, but that doesn’t mean thay are bad people. Skateboarding gives them an opportunity to feel comfortable with who they are.
We all need to embrace our youth and help them to excel in life. These kids need guidance not harassment!
Charging me with bogus charges, making Reality Skates feel VERY un-welcomed on Main Street to the point of moving to a new location, arresting teens, and making my character, my business, and the Clinton County Skatepark Association look bad will not make skatboarding go away, just as burning Beatles albums didn’t make rock and roll go away. Skateboarding is a multi-billion dollar industry. People all around the world skateboard. If you are talented enough to stand on a skateboard and ride, you don’t ever want to stop.
To have a successful, thriving community, it needs to be open for everyone to enjoy. Let’s begin discussions on how to resolve this issue of signage in the downtown and anywhere else that bikes and skateboards ect. are not allowed. If this community is going to enforce something, everyone needs to know the rules, and they need to be enforced equally.
We need you to VOTE!
Clinton County Skatepark Association is competing in the Pepsi Refresh grant contest to WIN $50,000 for our skatepark! We can’t do this alone. We need your help!
You will need to create an account with www.refresheverything.com It only takes a minute. You must be 13 or older to cast a vote with your valid email address.
Please vote everyday from May 1st – May 31st
Thank you for your support!
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