I went to jail for skateboarding, and all I got was this sweet mug shot

Categories: Mug Shots, Videos

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Skateboarding shouldn't be a crime -- but it is in certain parts of Denver. And during my recent run-in with the Denver Police Department after I was caught skateboarding on the 16th Street Mall, I learned that not only do some cops hate skateboarding, they also hate being questioned about their excessive flex of authority.

Here's my firsthand account of being arrested for my choice of transportation -- after taking it for a ride in a place I knew it wasn't allowed.

At 9:35 p.m. on Wednesday, December 12 (12/12/12 was not as lucky for me as it apparently was for others), I decided to skateboard on the sidewalk between Lawrence and Larimer streets along the 16th Street Mall. Fully aware of the rule forbidding skateboarding and bicycling along the center of the mall, I pushed up the hill on the sidewalk where there were very few pedestrians -- but there was a horse-drawn carriage blocking the path.

Was I too loud? Maybe the clacking of my wheels rolling on concrete was disturbing. Those pesky wheels are so much harder to tolerate than a giant, overpriced horse-drawn carriage in the middle of the walkway.

In any case, I hadn't gone far when Officer Lisa C. Aitken-Nelson pulled her motorcycle in front of me in the 1100 block of 16th Street and demanded my identification. Backing her was Officer R. Bloodworth. They said they'd been ordering me to stop; I said I hadn't heard them.

I handed my wallet to the officers and told them I was a freelance journalist. They were not impressed, and demanded that I sit down at the telephone pole on the corner. Instead, I leaned against it, commenting that "I'm perfectly fine standing."

When Bloodworth got a little heated that I would not sit, I finally did. They then asked me to cross my feet; I crossed my legs. They didn't like this, either. So I reached into my pocket to pull out my phone to record the incident, and before I could even open the application, I was on my back in handcuffs, being arrested for interference (violation 38-31(a)(b).

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I didn't think I should have to stand for that. But then, I couldn't stand at all, because I was on the ground in handcuffs between what was now four police officers.

Fortunately, a friend who'd been riding his bicycle down the bus lane had spotted the activity, and he came over. I asked him to record the incident, and he quickly learned that the police are not fans of civilian videographers -- and they shouldn't be, not when they are pulling ridiculous stunts like this.

I respectfully asked for every officer's business card, badge number, district and/or precinct. Officer Bloodworth told me that they weren't part of a precinct, and that I, a journalist, should know this. This is when they all started laughing.

We argued for about twenty minutes, with them repeatedly telling me how much I don't know about what they do, how I am just another skateboarder, and how they have nothing to hide. I brought up cases in which Denver police officers have been bullies (the Denver Diner incident, the Michael DeHerrera beating), and mentioned how they can generally bend the law in their favor when they see fit. They countered that with the assertion that skateboarding is "the number-one violation and complaint on 16th Street Mall."

Finally, a sergeant came up and signed off on my ticket without even reading it. At no point was I read my rights, and I was never even told what was written on the ticket. Bloodworth said that he didn't have to show it to me, and that if I wanted to know that bad, the judge would read it to me in court.

After that, I was hauled off to the new Denver jail. The city put a lot of money into this place, and it was furnished like a fancy new bus stop -- except that the bathroom had a peephole looking into it. The chairs are ergonomically designed so that sleeping in them guarantees a crooked neck; if you put your feet on these coveted seats, you got yelled at. You couldn't sleep on the floor, either. One very unhappy sheriff's deputy wouldn't even let me use the antibacterial hand sanitizer.

I called my friend on the phone provided, but because it's the 21st century and no one uses land lines anymore, I couldn't connect with a collect call. So instead I just left a 1.5-second message in the "please clearly state your name now" window. I did this roughly ten times, explaining my situation in bits and pieces.

After posing for what might be the best photo of me since middle school -- and one with which the deputy was not pleased (I held that expression for at least thirty seconds while he waited for me to relax -- which I didn't), I sat and watched Zorro on the flat-screen televisions in the intake area. The television facing the intake deputies was showing reruns of Cops, which seemed beautifully ironic.

Continue reading for the rest of the story and the full mug shot image.


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30 comments
reader534
reader534

The technical term for your arrest was "being a douchbag." You knew it was illegal, you didn't stop when the cop signaled you, and you gave the cops shit.  So I think the entire system worked perfectly, and I'm betting you don't do THAT again.

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

I dunno, haters--I feel like his civil rights were violated based on that sack lunch alone.

jenna-furrr
jenna-furrr topcommenter

Britt, I love you so much for this. : ) And BTW--trying to use "I'm a freelance journalist" never works for me at the DMV, the dry cleaners, or Taco Bell.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

Not the responses this douche-bag was expecting from this piece, I'm sure .

In his mid he believed himself to be a sort of 'crusader' & would be elevated as the 'voice' for the citizens .

Perhaps if he had been wearing a 'Teblow' jersey . Do we see politics in this 'victim's' future ? What a fucking joke ALL around !!!

chrismcdiddy01
chrismcdiddy01

The only waste of time was all of us reading this piece of shit. You, sir, are an entitled ass.

RevBF
RevBF

I've been arrested 9 times for various things I felt were fun in my youth and at about the 2nd time you realize that you don't pull a snarky, entitled attitude like that of, "I'm just fine standing." You say your yes sirs, no sirs, yes maams and no maams and 9 times out of 10 DPD will just let you go. I've had nothing but good run-ins with DPD even when I was being a belligerent shithead. You're lucky you didn't get caught by Arapahoe County Police because you certainly would have spent more time in jail and they wouldn't have made it fun. It's called trying to teach people a lesson so they DONT break the law again like you so blatantly did even knowing full well it was wrong. Didn't your parents teach you manners?

You do make a valid point though - even if it wasn't your intention. Attitudes like yours are exactly why there are problems on the streets, even if yours was just a minor violation. Why can YOU skateboard and others can't? Is it that because you're a freelance journalist (believe me, that title doesn't hold water - I know what you get paid - I write for Westword too) you have certain rights that others don't? The entitlement of everyone is what's wrong and unfortunately the repercussions of such attitudes are why there's very little respect for anything, officers not withstanding. 

I've made it a goal of mine to not be arrested in the double digits and at 30 yrs old, I can say it's probably likely because not only do I follow the rules that need to be followed (read: don't skateboard where it says don't skateboard. If you want to be a super cool rebel do it where nobody sees and where you won't get caught), I also know how not to get caught enjoying the things I want to.  Meet any of the criminals in county? Yeah, they're the stupid ones who get caught. Lesson learned.

What a joke...

Charlie Whiskey
Charlie Whiskey

Cops suck and are horrible human beings. What's new?

Stephen At Half Aspen
Stephen At Half Aspen

I'm far more concerned about the lack of professionalism shown by the DPD officers at the scene than the writer's treatment in jail, the later seeming typical. Their conduct, if as described, may be lawful but far from professional and that can lead to resistance by those subject to arrest. Action versus reaction. Obviously the DPD is failing by not enforcing professional conduct and that has never proven wise in the long run. Time will tell if there's a problem or not as you'll see a growing lack of respect and with that, increasing incidents of resistance. Sad for all.

murban88
murban88

I saw you  getting arrested (on the ground) walking back that night from class.  I walked right past you guys, you were pretty belligerent it seemed, but even so fuck the police...especially if this was over skateboarding.  Kind of cool follow-up for me.

Marcus Garcia
Marcus Garcia

The comments on Westword site show just how many stupid assholes there are in this town.fortunately for them their views are supported by the biggest street gang in this town the DPD.One day a real rain will come & wash all the pieces of shit away & they won't all be on skateboards or bicycles...cheers to you my man.skate or die!!

Leah Ryan
Leah Ryan

Denver cops CLEARLY have nothing better to do with their time other than harassing normal ass folk and bending the law when they want. Way to go coppas! You guys are awesome. Sucks that your writer man had to deal with this but it's a great mug shot and good story!

Legen Dairy
Legen Dairy

Damn. Just read the story. That sucks. Jail Sucks. A reason Ill never commit a real crime.

rockiesfever
rockiesfever

No, Donny. I don't have any AXE body spray. Because I'm not a fucking douchebag. 

kill
kill

Oedipalunderwear, you’re a dumbass. My guess is you are probably overweight and like to hate on people for doing active things, woah... i’ve had to deal with shit people like you screaming at football games in bars, so maybe someone banging a skateboard on the sidewalk isn't all that bad. Deal with it. Take a look at both sides of the story dick, maybe we wouldn't have to waist taxpayers money if lazy people wouldn't get so irate about people having fun or getting exercise... f*ck off and let the kid skate.  How would you feel is someone outlawed your favorite pastime.... masturbating. Get a life. 



itsthelawyersstupid
itsthelawyersstupid

your deliberate antics just cost us taxpayers $1,500+ (sstop, arrest, transport, booking, jail, court, release, etc...). your sins will not be absolved until you write a check for the full amount made payable to the local taxpayers. thanks for wasting expensive and valuable resources. after writing the check, and you want to change the laws (aka reefer laws) bribe a politician just like everyone else. making criminal justice system lawyers richer is not the way to make the world better. in fact, it only make things worse for all of us, as the systems lawyers become dependent on the taxpayers income.

OedipalUnderwear
OedipalUnderwear

Well, you broke the law. You knew skateboarding there was illegal, and you did it anyway. If you don't think it SHOULD be illegal, that's fine. But it is.

As someone who’s had to deal with more than a few dicks who decided it’s cool to slam their skateboards as loudly as possible onto the concrete right next me (because that makes them all rebellious and badass and shit) — not to mention all the idiots who have slammed into me because I won’t move when I’m appropriately walking along a sidewalk — I’m having a trouble mustering up sympathy for your plight.

Journalists are being detained, assaulted and murdered all over the world for reporting on important things in incredibly dangerous environments. You're whining about spending a night in county for skateboarding.

zz_man
zz_man

Folks - this is why cousins are not allowed to marry.

AwfullyBrittish
AwfullyBrittish

@dayshabass yea fandangled skooterboarding gettin all arrested

robbr825
robbr825

@DenverWestword writer is an idiot. He knew what he was doing was wrong, got caught, acted like an ass, and takes police procedure from TV

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 "Here's my first-hand account of being arrested for my choice of transportation -- after taking it for a ride in a place I knew it wasn't allowed."

Stupid is as Stupid does.

HipTip: Don't do the Crime if you can't do the Time.

hth.

SpanishWrangler
SpanishWrangler

You got that right Oedipal! You couldn't have said it any better.

dayshabass
dayshabass

@AwfullyBrittish classic Britt <3 Nice write-up.

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