MANCHESTER >> A video of a man yelling expletives at two teenage skateboarders has gone viral, having been viewed over a hundred thousand times and causing an uproar on social media.
The incident left the teenagers feeling like they were unfairly treated and were profiled for their age and the sport they take part in. And parents and community members feel as if police haven't done enough.
Manchester police confirmed on Thursday the department is interviewing all parties involved and the investigation is ongoing. No charges have been filed with the resident, who lives on Powderhorn Road.
Jaidon Lalor, of Manchester, and Nathaniel Garrison, of Dorset, are both 17-year-old juniors at Burr and Burton Academy. They both love longboarding — the sport uses what looks like a traditional skateboard, except longer — and are training for the Central Mass Skate Festival slated for August.
Lalor said that, after police told him in March not to skateboard on Powderhorn Road, he researched local laws. He found the town does have a skateboarding restriction, but only in the Commercial #1 District, which includes Main and Depot streets.
"Once we found out the law was on our side, we kept skating," Lalor said.
Lalor and Garrison said they went to skate on Powderhorn Road on Monday before sunset. At one point, a resident, whom the boys and parents identified to be Lawrence Fogarazzo, came to the road to speak with them.
"He said he was worried we'd get hurt, that a car could hit us," Lalor said. "We told him we had done this before. And I said we were wearing the correct gear — the full face gear and everything."
"He said we weren't allowed there," Garrison said. "At that point, Jaidon read him the law he researched. And I told him, we're abiding by the law. We were very respectful."
According to Garrison and Lalor, Fogarazzo then threatened to pull his vehicle out into the roadway, implying he was going to hit them with it or to cause them to skateboard into it. The shaky, fifty-three-second video catches the rest of the incident, during which Fogarazzo hurls expletives towards the boys.
Hours later, according to the boys and their families, Fogarazzo showed up at Lalor's home, parked at the end of their driveway and called police. Lalor said he ultimately got a warning from police.
Lalor filmed the video on his phone. His friend and classmate Ethan Hacker posted it to Facebook on Monday night. Since then, it's been shared 1,500 times and garnered 108,000 views. Garrison and Lalor said they've received much support from family, friends, area residents and teachers.
Hacker's father, Doug, said he wants to know why charges weren't filed against Fogarazzo, either regarding the most recent incident or the one in March — Hacker said he and Lalor were skating on Powderhorn Road when the police were called, escorted away in a cruiser, and had their first encounter with Fogarazzo.
"He said, 'The next time I see them on my road, I'm going to strangle them with my bare hands,'" Hacker said.
The Manchester Police Department drew criticism from residents who expressed on social media the department didn't do enough.
"The video does speak for itself," Police Chief Michael Hall said. He said he's interviewing all of the parties involved and is compiling a report that would be reviewed by a prosecutor. He acknowledges some residents feel the department didn't address the issue.
"But as far as we knew, we already had done enough," Hall said. "Our understanding was that everything had been resolved with the parties when we left Monday night."
Hall disputed some details in the boys' account of the March incident, but acknowledged the officer inadvertently did gave them incorrect information about where they could skate.
According to Hall, police were on routine patrol around the Powderhorn Road area when they encountered the boys; no resident called police. An officer "strongly suggested" the boys find a different place to skate, Hall said. The officer offered Hacker a ride back to the bottom of the hill to meet a parent.
Hall said more needs to be done to inform officers about where skateboarding is allowed.
A message left at Fogarazzo's residence was not returned at press time.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979