Skate park owner: Dad who kicked son is 'remorseful and embarrassed'
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A Florida man who has drawn outrage from a video showing him kicking his 6-year-old son down a skate ramp is "remorseful and embarrassed," according to the owner of the skate park.
Local police and the Florida Department of Children and Families said Monday they are investigating the disturbing video of the incident involving dad Marcus Crossland and his son, Dino, at the Kona Skate Park in Jacksonville, Fla. The owner of the park, Martin Ramos, wrote in a text message to NBC News that "Mr. Crossland is very remorseful and embarrassed."
The video depicts Crossland pushing his son down the lip of a 13-foot drop on a skate ramp. It was shot by another skater at the park, Ryan Stephens, who posted it on his Instagram account April 26, drawing a strong reaction online.
The boy can be heard groaning at the bottom of the ramp. He is reportedly in good condition after being seen skating on the ramp later in the day. Crossland has been temporarily banned from the park, but the boy is welcome to return. Ramos told TODAY's Kerry Sanders that the father and son are regulars at the park, and he has never seen any behavior like this before.
"He comes out here and skates with his dad all the time,'' Ramos said on TODAY Tuesday. "Mostly, he's just kind of cruising around the park, and him and his dad (are) high-fiving and having a good time."
Dino is a skating prodigy, Ramos said, but the boy may have been scared because of the steep drop on the ramp.
"I certainly hope that through all this viral video that it will send a solid message out to parents and families to let kids be kids,'' Ramos said. "Don't push them too hard and take a step back."
Social media users have expressed their outrage.
The TODAY anchors also weighed in.
"You don't want to judge because you never know a situation, but I'm sorry, it's hard to see what could have justified what we saw in that video,'' Savannah Guthrie said Tuesday.
"The reason that people had the reaction to it is because your common sense tells you that's wrong,'' Tamron Hall added.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office is looking into the incident. "It's an ongoing investigation, and we have no further comment,'' Jacksonville Sheriff's Office public information officer Melissa Bujeda told TODAY.com.
A spokesperson for the Florida Department of Children and Families also told TODAY.com the department was investigating the "alarming" video.
"We not only want to find out more about this incident, but also about the living situation of that child and any other child in the home," said John Harrell, a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Children and Families. "Certainly we do feel the video is very disturbing, and any child in that situation is certainly at risk for injury."
TODAY viewers weighed in on Facebook about the video.
"If he does this in public, imagine what he does behind closed doors,'' Mary Fournier wrote on Monday. "He shouldn't be allowed alone with any child."
"Absolutely horrible,'' Kristen Cerrula wrote. "My heart broke when I heard the little boy's cry when he fell. This man doesn't deserve to be a father — if this is how he treats his son in public, I don't even want to think about what happens behind closed doors."