Dad won't be charged for pushing son off skateboard ramp

UPDATE, 5/29/14: The State Attorney's Office has decided not to charge Marcus Crossland for pushing his stepson off a skateboard ramp at Kona Skatepark.

In a disposition statement obtained by FCN, prosecutors said there was multiple factors including not enough evidence to charge Crossland with a crime. The boy's mother told the State Attorney she does not want her husband prosecuted, but does want him to learn that she does not approve of this type of training.

First Coast News will continue to update this story with more information. Check back for updates. All of the reasons prosecutors did not decide to pursue an arrest are found in this document:

UPDATE, 4/29/14: About the video, State Attorney's Office Director of Communications, Jackelyn Barnard, told FCN

"The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is investigating, and the State Attorney's Office is working with the JSO on this investigation."

UPDATE, 4/28/14: After watching the video, spokesperson John Harrell said DCF is investigating the incident.

"We do not consider this to be appropriate behavior," Harrell said.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A video of a man kicking his child off a ramp at a local skate park is causing an uproar Saturday on social media.

The video, which was originally posted Friday by Ryan Stephens (Instagram user @lilbubs) shows Marcus Crossland kicking his 6-year-old son down a skateboard ramp nicknamed Big Brown at Kona Skate Park in Arlington.

The video was shared by a popular Jacksonville Instagram account, IGersJax, and was circulated around other social media sites Saturday.

"Unfortunately parents get so enthusiastic about their kids and their abilities in skateboarding, or baseball, or football or whatever and sometimes they take it a little too far," said Martin Ramos, Kona's operator.

Ramos said the boy and his father often skate together at the park and he has never seen any behavior similar to that seen in the video before.

"He [Crossland] said he was just caught up in the moment. He seemed very remorseful. He certainly understands the gravity of the situation and it seems like he is going to be answering to this thing for quite some time to come," Ramos said.

Monday, Ramos told FCN that he is already losing business from the fallout of the video. Ramos said it is unfortunate that the video is going viral, given what it shows.

"it's hard to watch. It takes your breath away," he said.

Monday, Ramos told FCN that he spoke to Crossland and said the father is deeply apologetic.

"He certainly realizes that totally unacceptable behavior," Ramos said.

FCN asked Ramos if Crossland told him why he kicked his son down the ramp.

"The who, what, where and why I think is pretty obvious," Ramos said. "He was trying to get his kid over the fear of 'dropping in.' What we're really focused on is your son ok? There is no excuse."

Ramos said the child is okay. Ramos also told FCN he hopes the video, though tough to watch, sends a message to parents.

"That something like this just isn't acceptable. It won't be tolerated."

FCN showed the video to several families. Beatrice Rodriguez, of Boston, Massachusetts, is a mother of six.

"I think it's disgusting," She said, after watching the video. "That's horrible. Absolutely not. He should be in jail and his child should be removed from his home."

Monday, FCN spoke to Nicole Story. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She is also a mother. She also watched the video.

"First of all, I'm thinking it seems more like a bullying technique than parenting technique. It seems more to be the parent's anxiety and the parent's expectations than the child's needs," she said.

Story said an event like this could lead to possible trust and confidence issues within a child. Story said there may be something parents can learn from the incident.

"We always can deal with a reminder to step back and ask ourselves 'is this truly in my child's best interest or is this more my own issue?'" she said.

"Yeah, definitely," Rodriguez said about the parenting advice. "That's bananas."

Tuesday, Ramos told FCN in the wake of the viral video, he has lost thousands of dollars in business.

"It's been kind of a ghost town around here," Ramos said Tuesday morning. "We're hoping that this isn't going to be the trend and things will get back to normal as soon as possible."

Ramos said he is getting emotional calls from people as far away as Australia.

"That assumption of guilt from our side was right out of the gate. Saturday on social media, we were not sure how far this was gong to go," said Ramos.

On the Kona Skatepark Facebook page, there are negative comments, but there are also comments in support of the skate park. Ramos said from the beginning of all of this, it has been about the child in the video, Dino, and about other skaters.

"It's unfortunate that something like that happened out here," Ramos said. "But, on the other end, we're glad that we're at least a part of creating something positive with creating awareness of a problem that exists."

Ramos said Tuesday he is trying to turn this around.

For one thing, he said people have told him to not do interviews. But he thinks that would send the wrong message. So, he is trying to be as open as possible with people which includes on social media.

Crossland told First Coast News that the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office wants to speak to him and declined further comment.

The child, nicknamed Dino the Dinosaur, and his dad are well known around Kona. Dino is known as a skateboarding "prodigy."

The video was posted on the First Coast News Facebook page and sparked a long list of angry comments.

First Coast News reached out to the Department of Children and Families to find out if it was aware of the video. DCF spokesperson John Harrell said he had not seen the video and in order for DCF to investigate, someone with direct knowledge of the incident would need to report it.

Stephens, 13, said his friend shot the video but Stephens posted it because he said it was bad and didn't want to see the father push his son so hard.

Stephens said he confronted Crossland after he saw the video to ask him why he pushed his son.

"He said 'because he needs to learn'. I was like 'pushing him down is not teaching him how to drop in'. And then he said 'do you think you can raise him better than me?' and I said yes," Stephens said.

Ramos asked Crossland not to return to the park, at least for a while.

"I encouraged him to put the fun back in it and get out of all the events and all this delusions of grandeur that have him kind of motivated," Ramos said.

Anyone with knowledge of any child abuse is asked to call DCF at 1-800-962-2873.


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