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Teen fights at Hampton roller rink challenge police

It is a stated objective on the home Web page of the Hampton Police that the division looks to make the community the most livable city in Virginia. It says it strives to do that by partnering with the community to prevent crime and make neighborhoods safer. But the force reportedly is facing a particular challenge in applying that strategy in one area of town.

The focal point of the issue is a roller rink on East Pembroke Avenue. In the past six months, authorities have been called to the facility quite a bit. The result has been four charges of larceny, one of obstruction of justice and two charges of weapons violations.

The Sunday night of Labor Day weekend proved to be especially challenging. Between 9 p.m. and 10:45 p.m, officers responded to three separate incidents at the rink. 

The first involved a fight. Two young men, 20 and 18, were charged with fighting in public in the incident. Another 18-year-old male was charged with obstruction of justice and two juveniles were charged with disorderly conduct.

Later, gunshots were heard in the area. No one was hurt, but a car was damaged. Responding officers chased down an 18-year-old man who attempted to run from the scene. He was booked on suspicion of having a concealed weapon and drug possession.

As investigations into the first two incidents were underway, more officers were called to a reported assault and robbery on a 14-year-old youth. At the time this is being written, there's no word that any arrests have been made in that case.

What has neighbors of the rink edgy is that they see violence becoming a regular occurrence, coinciding with weekend parties geared toward teenagers. Promoters of the parties say they're intended to give kids a safe place to socialize. But residents say they're not doing enough to stop the violence.  

Shy of a solution, it seems plausible to think that arrests will continue. Anyone who does wind up facing criminal charges should know that they have rights. And to be sure that those rights are protected, they should be sure to consult an experienced attorney. 

Source: WAVY.com, "Six teens charged outside skating rink," Jason Marks, Sept. 4, 2013