Alleged assaults, vandalism at Vic Park skate competition
By 3 News online staff
Controversy has broken out over a children's skating competition organised at Auckland's Victoria Park after allegations of violence and vandalism.
A video uploaded to Vimeo shows a man – allegedly hired as security for the event – shoving a young skater to the ground and telling him to get out of the park.
There are also allegations children were given spray cans and told to graffiti sponsors' names on the skate ramps, something the competition's organiser denies.
One of the companies that donated prizes has said on Twitter it's disappointed at the state the park was left in, and had only wanted to support young skaters.
"Were [sic] gutted about the state of the park and what happened at the event," said Skinny Mobile. "We donated in order to support young skaters, not this."
The company said it had "no idea" cans of spray paint would be given to competitors, and says although they donated prize money, Skinny was not a sponsor and the organisers used their logo without permission.
"The legit skate community doesn't deserve this… We're going to do everything we can to sort this. One bad promoter / event isn't representative of the community."
The company has now sent a team down to the park to help with graffiti removal, according to their Facebook page.
Auckland mayor Len Brown says he is investigating the allegations.
"Very unimpressed by vandalism at Vic Park skate park & appalled by accusations of comp organisers handing out spray cans," he wrote on Twitter. "Am investigating."
He followed up with a subsequent post on Facebook: "I am shocked and appalled by the antics at Vic Park Skatepark over the weekend. Vandalism is bad enough, but shoving kids around is quite another matter. I'm taking this very seriously. This must be a safe place for our kids."
A spokesman for Mr Brown said a permit had been granted to William ‘Doc’ Murdoch to hold the Skinny & Serenity National Grom Skate Comp at the park, which was opened six months ago.
The permit clearly stated there would be no damage to the park, and that any damage caused by the participants would be repaired at the organisers' cost.
"I think we've been let down," the spokesman said.
A man shown on the video protesting the shoving said police would be contacted about the incident.
Police said a man called its northern communications centre, alleging he had earlier been assaulted by a security guard at the park, but he had not laid a complaint.
Photo of the graffiti, showing sponsors' names (source)
The Skinny & Serenity National Grom Skate Comp was held yesterday afternoon. It was organised by Mr Murdoch, an ex-drug addict who now runs a rehab clinic, Serenity.
He says the clean up process is already underway.
"I have already begun the process of returning the park back to what it was prior to the comp," he wrote on Facebook. "Will be painted and all tagging removed at no cost to the public or rate payers..just as i have been sponsoring trash for cash for the past 3 months....."
Mr Murdoch argued with other Facebook users about the pros and cons of graffiti in skate parks, before deleting the thread.
Other photos on his Facebook page today have also been inundated with angry comments.
Nancy Vaalepu writes: "I'd like to see you come to my local skatepark (Nawton) and try that sh** on…”
"Shame on you and hope you get charged for assault," writes Mia Kiwa.
Alex Robinson writes: "Next time i see you ima tackle you like the dude did the kid in the video, hope you bust your ass on the concrete."
3 News / NZN