JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The State Attorney’s Office will not press charges against the Jacksonville father seen in a viral video pushing his son off a skateboard ramp, even though they admit the act is “objectively abusive.”
“This case captures the tension that exists between punishing people who criminally injure children and an overreaching government that interferes with how parents raise their children,” the State Prosecutor writes in a disposition obtained by WOKV.
Marcus Lee Crossland, 27, kicked his 6 year-old stepson down a 9 foot ramp at Kona Skatepark in Arlington. It happened on April 25, and a videotape of the incident quickly spread on the Internet and national news networks.
In the statement, the prosecutor gives various reasons for why Crossland will not face charges. His stepson admits that he wanted to learn to skate that particular ramp, and Crossland was trying to demonstrate that he would “survive” the fall.
The boy was “properly equipped with pads and a helmet.” He was also pushed multiple times and “remained apparently compliant with the training.” His mother was upset with Crossland after seeing the video, but doesn’t want to him to face charges and possible jail time.
“Critical in this analysis is the fact that the push was not done out of anger or rage,” the prosecutor states.
Still, the proseuctor states that pushing a child off a skateboard ramp that high is “undisputedly an act that could reasonably injure a 6 year-old child,” and therefore “objectively abusive” and “unreasonable.”
“It is extremely difficult for the criminal justice system to distinguish between criminal abuse and aggressive parenting techniques. It just that difficult that requires our office to be very conservative in deciding when to make parental decisions criminal.”
Crossland will be credited for the anger control and parenting skills classes he’s already taken. The State Attorney’s Office will take “no further action.”