Two brothers, arrested at Fresno City College on September 25, 2009, are still in the Fresno County Jail for an incident involving a skateboard. Demone Moultrie will soon be transferred to Chino State Prison. His brother Greg is in solitary confinement.
Does your right to carry a skateboard vanish into thin air when you step onto the Fresno City College campus? Ask Greg and Demone Moultrie, who are still sitting in the Fresno County Jail, what they think. According to witnesses, Greg Moultrie was walking on campus with his skateboard in his hands on September 25, 2009 when he was stopped by a campus police officer. The officer ordered Moultrie to hand over his skateboard. When he did not want to comply with what he felt was an unreasonable request, the incident escalated and Demone Moultrie, Greg’s brother, got involved. As officers scuffled with the Moultries, a student at the Native American Intertribal Student Association table got on the group’s PA system and encouraged students to use their cell phones to film the incident.
In video on the Internet < http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/local&id=7033613 >, you can see the chaotic scene, including one of the officers hitting Demone with his baton. Greg was sprayed with mace. Greg is now—more than three months after this incident—still sitting in the Fresno County Jail. He has just been given a 3 year sentence for charges filed against him in the skateboarding incident. When I went to visit Demone on December 22, Greg was in The Hole - solitary confinement. Demone is also still in jail and is scheduled to be sent to Chino State Prison on January 21, all because of this skateboarding incident. How could something as simple as walking across the FCC campus with a skateboard end up with two young men in jail for a prolonged period of time?
In an attempt to find out the answer to this question, I talked to students at FCC and contacted the Public Information Office. I received a response from Joseph Callahan, Chief of Police with the State Center Community College District who defended their “skateboarding is a crime” policy by stating that “once skateboards get away from their owner, they are little more than missiles capable of great harm.”