Cameron Kennon, a 15-year-old honors student at Montclair High, was arrested last Wednesday for criminal trespass for skateboarding in a bank parking lot on Valley Road. Kennon was handcuffed and taken to the Montclair Police station, where his mug shot was taken and he was put in a cell for about an hour before his mother arrived. His skateboard was confiscated. A friend of Cameron’s, 15, was also arrested.
Cameron’s arrest has inflamed his mother, Sabine, whose Watercooler post (registration required) shortly after the event has spawned dozens of replies. She’s now renewing a campaign to get a skateboard park in town, which died a NIMBY death two years ago.
“It’s like really unfair. It’s the only thing we really do,” said Cameron, a tall skinny boy with a shy manner. “I’m not like a troublemaker.”
Noting that the mother has threatened a lawsuit, Montclair Police Chief David Sabagh declined to comment except to say that the arrest was proper and lawful.
She likens it to a jogger being pulled over by police and having their sneakers confiscated. “That’s what it’s like to these kids. It’s like breathing.”
“Someone who jogs or dances has a passion. This is what these kids do. This is a passion for them,” Sabine said. “The town has managed to create spaces for people who play all kinds of sports.”
She says has already gotten support from Division East, the shop on Bloomfield Ave. that sells skateboards and skateboard fashions, and Steve Plofker, whose sons skateboard and who supported a park in the unsuccessful 2005 bid.
In March, a 13-year-old skateboarder was hospitalized after being hit by a van in Montclair’s South End.