Nike’s latest glossy skate video “Debacle” is stitched around several highly-realistic, faked acts of vandalism and assault, but none shocking if you’ve watched a lot of skate videos; I just assumed they were real until the disclaimer appeared at the end. I’ve seen pros show off how they cut chains to break into schools; accidentally break real windows and flee; verbally assault owners and security guards; scream obscenities and throw things in fits of rage; accidentally hit bystanders (hard) with 8 lb. boards or their bodies; and generally behave like drunken delinquents.
Along with fearlessness (healthy to a point), disregard for authority and the care for other peoples’ property is baked into the pop culture, and, although probably a very small percentage of skaters make any trouble, those that do make a real problem for cops trying to keep areas free of gangs of boys who want to emulate the pros in acts and attitude. Any criminologist will tell you the perfect recipe for crime is an unsupervised group of young males predisposed to rule-breaking.
So, unfortunately, incidents like this are common. On camera a cop threatens to brake the arm of a generally compliant but obviously tired kid. This is, of course, after the kid calmly calls the LEO a “fuckin’ dick” (twice) and several minutes after the group filming had apparently damaged city property (“It’s against the law to pry those up — you’re not a city worker”) and ticked off folks enough to call the police.
I love skateboarding and it’s a real shame it’s now apparently criminal in San Francisco (a classic collection of skate spots), but I understand why cops and property owners support these bans. It’s hard to vilify officers who’re asked to bust up active skate spots. The business owner that allows her property to become a regular spot is just waiting for damage, graffiti, reduced foot traffic from weary pedestrians, and potential litigation from parents/bystanders.
MTV star Rob Dyrdek has worked quite a bit to design and promote public skate parks, which are great for the vast majority of respectful skaters, but previews of his upcoming movie Street Dreams look like it will try to convince the public that skaters who insult business owners to their faces, make trouble in motels, and sand skate stoppers off school handrails are unfairly oppressed and just need their own parks. It will only “tell the story” of a minority of skaters and it won’t do the rest any favors.