State police arrest 2 men for skating after dark in Cambridge, days after nighttime lights were turned on

The skatepark's new hours have yet to take effect, officials said.

Skaters at the Lynch Family Skatepark in June.

Two Boston men were arrested Sunday night because they allegedly refused to stop skating and leave a Cambridge skatepark after dark. The incident occurred with newly installed lighting, intended to eventually allow local skaters to hit the ramps after sundown, still illuminated.

Derek Hanlon, 27, and Askia Burns, 24, were charged with trespassing after a Massachusetts State Police trooper found them and at least 30 other skaters in the Lynch Family Skatepark at 8:26 p.m. — after dusk, the park’s posted closing time, state police said in a press release.

Confusion over the arrests surfaced on social media Monday since the new lighting at the park, installed to permit nighttime skating, first turned on last week. However, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, which operates the park, said the extended park hours to 9 p.m. have yet to take effect.

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Authorities said the trooper saw the skaters while on a routine check of the Education Street park. He told them to leave several times from his cruiser’s PA system and again after he exited the vehicle, but found Hanlon was still skating, according to the release.

Hanlon was told several times again of the posted rules, but he refused to exit the park, police said.

“As the trooper attempted to place Hanlon into custody, the defendant continually resisted while approximately 30 other skaters began to move closer,” the release said. “The trooper then took necessary action to overcome the defendant’s resistance and make the arrest quickly before the situation escalated further.”

Videos of the incident posted on social media show a trooper telling a man to stop resisting arrest before throwing him to the ground and detaining him.

No one was injured during the arrest, according to police. Hanlon also faces a charge for resisting arrest.

Burns was seen afterwards walking back toward the skatepark and allegedly told police he would continue to skate once they left, authorities said.

In an email, the DCR said the park is currently open from dawn until dark and that the department is in the process of making and installing signs to reflect updated hours, which will take effect once the signs are posted.

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The lights were left on until 9 p.m. Sunday “to provide additional public safety,” the department said.

“We’re really disappointed and sad to hear about the incident over the weekend but are excited that there are lights that will enable people to skate longer into the evening and into the night,” Laura Jasinski, executive director of the Charles River Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that works to maintain the Charles River parklands in partnership with the DCR, told Boston.com.

The new lights at the park — which the conservancy raised money to have installed — were first turned on last week, according to Jasinski, who said the DCR controls the lighting.

Dave Procopio, a state police spokesman, said in an email to Boston.com that authorities stand behind issuing the trespassing charges.

“The DCR rules, reiterated on the section about the park on the Conservancy web site, state that the park is open dawn to dusk. Unless and until DCR changes that, that is what we will enforce,” Procopio said. “The presence of lights does not change what the DCR rule states. For all we know the lights could have been installed for security after park closing.”

Those factors also do not have bearing on a charge for resisting arrest, he added.

Both Hanlon and Burns were booked at the State Police Boston Barracks and released on $40 bail. Their arraignment hearings will be scheduled in Cambridge District Court.

Posted by Massachusetts State Police on Monday, October 1, 2018

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