Several of my friends and myself were at a local festival this evening, when one of them gets the bright idea to climb onto the roof of a local public building. It was just for fun and didn't seem like that big of a deal. He was supposed to go up there, let us a take a picture, and get down.
That happened, but immediately following, the park police swarmed the place. We had at least three vehicles pull up within ten seconds after he jumped from the roof. The first one came at him boldly, and asked what he was doing. He answered honestly by saying he was on the building. The police officer got off his vehicle, unclipped his gun, and told my friend to put his hands behind his back. He was then handcuffed.
At that point in time I got a sinking feeling in my gut. I couldn't believe the reaction we were getting. We ended up in the situation for about an hour as the police questioned some of us, examined my friend's bag, and filled out papers.
According to the police officer, my friend was "entering," or "breaking and entering" simply by climbing onto the roof for twenty seconds.
They said they could charge him or fine him up to $1000. He ended up with a $175 fine and a court date.
They also made a huge deal about the pictures. In all honestly, I'm not sure why. They made sure my friend had deleted them. Is this legal? I didn't think it was a crime to take pictures. If it had been a reporter would they have confiscated their pictures? No. It's a public place.
They also mentioned that people would do similar things and post videos on youtube - they said that they used youtube for evidence all the time. Can you believe that?
The whole scenario was ridiculous, in my opinion. While he shouldn't have been on the roof, I think they acted way to strongly.
The most ridiculous thing about the entire incident was that we were in a park, and where we were at the moment had signs that said "no skateboarding, no rollerskating, no biking." There was a skate park nearby and the entire time we were being questioned, skateboarders, roller skaters, and bikers rode by between the cops and their vehicles, right past the sign. Did they get ticketed? Nooo.
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