Skateboarders Arrested, Handcuffed in Palm Beach
PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) _ Officials of this posh resort have been forced to abandon employee identification cards and accept shirtless jogging, but they still take a tough line on teen-age skateboarders.
A Palm Beach tactical squad recently spotted three unwary violators skating atop a wall, and a plainclothes officer frisked and handcuffed the boys before taking them downtown.
″I think it was outrageous,″ Roger Gumbinner, whose 14-year-old son Josh was one of the three, said Wednesday. ″I know they were trying to scare the kids, but this is bad.″
Arrested last Friday along with Josh were Chris Neapolitan, 15, and Mike Tavcar, 16, all of West Palm Beach, across the Intracoastal Waterway from this exclusive shore town.
Courts have recently struck down laws requiring identification cards for people who work in Palm Beach and banning shirtless jogging, but police insist the skateboard ban is not just for appearances.
Assistant Police Chief Richard W. Woods defended the treatment of the three boys.
″I can’t second-guess the officers. They have the duty to protect these kids from becoming paraplegics,″ he said.
A fall from the wall where the boys were skateboarding to the beach would be about 25 feet. ″The officers thought there was extreme danger to the boys.″