Two skateboarder suspects arrested in beating of Philly park ranger [updated]

Listen

Philadelphia police have arrested two suspects and are searching for a third in the videotaped beating of a city park ranger trying to enforce a no-skateboarding rule, the Associated Press reported.

Police say they arrested a 19-year-old and a 17-year-old Monday. Both face charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and making terroristic threats, according to AP.

Authorities said the ranger was on duty at Love Park in Center City, when he told a group of skateboarders to leave. Though Love Park has been a skating mecca for decades, skating is not allowed there.

The suspect punched the park ranger in the face, pulled him onto the ground, and then stomped and spat on him, police said, while another skateboarder heckled the ranger and a third videotaped the incident. The attack left the park ranger with minor injuries, according to authorities.

A witness later posted video of the incident online.

George Bullen, who was skating at nearby Paine’s Park Monday, condemned the assault.

“Any kind of violence is wrong, especially toward a park ranger,” he said. “It’s a shame when stuff like that happens. Here, we’re always close to losing this place because of graffiti and the stickers and the trash, and the skaters are just picking up after other skaters. And it kind of feels the same way, like, you’re making it so much harder for all the rest of us.”

Fellow skateboarder Jeremy Batdorf agreed that a handful of lawbreakers are giving all skateboarders a bad name.

“Most people just do it as a hobby,” he said, “and there’s always going to be kids who are just bad apples in general. And even if they weren’t skating, they would probably be doing stuff like that.”

Officer Jillian Russell, a department spokeswoman, said police are still searching for one other skateboarder who stood by during the attack.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.