Skateboarders constantly test the legal limits by honing their craft in areas where it may not be allowed to skate, while security and other law enforcement work to bring it to a prompt end. Recently in Portland, Oregon, the skateboarders chalked up a victory in the form of successful civil litigation.
Back in 2009, two friends were skateboarding in Pioneer Square in Portland, even though the area prohibited it. After only about 10 minutes of skating, a security guard asked the skateboarders to leave, but they did not. The altercation escalated and the three security guards ended up assaulting both skateboarders. One of the security guards, who was later discovered to not have the proper licensing for the job, struck one of the skaters over the head with a skateboard.
The ordeal was caught on tape, and passed around the Internet where it became incredibly popular. With the clear evidence out on the Internet for everyone to see, the skateboarders filed a lawsuit against all three of the security guards involved in the assault. The duo also listed the company that employed the guards as a defendant. They sought $1.35 million in damages.
Despite the glaring evidence, they had a hard time convincing law enforcement and local media they were victims. Some people suggested that the skateboarders started the fight and the guards were just defending themselves. The district attorney even accused the skateboarders of doctoring the video, saying that the skater did not get hit in the head with a board, but rather, he struck the guard. The D.A.’s office did not pursue criminal charges against the guards.
Before the trial ran its course, both sides eventually settled, but the amount of money was not disclosed. This marked the first time that skateboarders were successful in civil litigation against security guards.
Source: ESPN.com, “Skateboarder wins civil suit in Portland,” Garric Ray, Jan. 18, 2012