Two weekend fights could mean crackdown on roller rinks

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 23, 2015) – Indianapolis Metropolitan Police are considering a crackdown on local roller rinks after responding to two fights that broke out during all-night skating parties.

The largest incident happened around Midnight Saturday night at the Roller Cave near 21st Street and Post Road.  Officers responded to several 911 calls at the Roller Cave about large groups of juveniles fighting.  Witnesses told officers that two gangs started fighting in the middle of the skating floor and the situation quickly escalated.  Officers arriving on the scene described a scene of chaos, with hundreds of youth involved in the brawl.

“We detained a juvenile who was as young as 8 years old,” said IMPD Officer Chris Wilburn.  “And we detained and arrested juveniles who were 16 and above.”

About 40 officers from multiple agencies responded to break up the fight.  There were no serious injuries reported, but one juvenile was sprayed with a chemical agent.  It’s not clear who sprayed whom.

The fight happened during an all-ages skating party which was scheduled to last until 3 a.m.  Police call that a violation of the city’s curfew ordinance.

“If someone is wanting to make a profit at the expense of juveniles finding a place to go, that’s problematic,” Wilburn said.  “And you’re violating a number of city ordinances.”

The Indianapolis curfew ordinance for Saturday nights says juveniles ages 15 to 17 can’t be out on their own after 1 a.m.  Children ages 14 and younger have to be in by 11 p.m.

The owner of Roller Cave, Luke Boston, disputed the police account of the incident.

“There was a minor incident involving some teenage kids not getting along,” Boston said.  “It was a minor incident.  No major harm was done.”

Boston said Roller Cave has been hosting all-ages, all-night skating parties since the business opened in 1977 and he was not aware of any curfew violations.

“It was definitely an unfortunate incident,” Boston said.  “But I think we’re doing a whole lot more good for the community by offering the service that we offer.”

Boston also disputed a police account that there were only four cars in the Roller Cave parking lot when officers arrived to break up the fight, indicated that most, if not all of the juveniles had been dropped off by parents.

Police also responded to a fight at Wheels of Wonder, located at Southern Plaza near U.S. 31 and I-465 on the south side.  Investigators believe that was also part of an overnight skate party.

Wilburn said IMPD Nuisance Abatement Team and Marion County Prosecutors will review the cases.  They were planning to talk to roller rink owners about the issue.  It’s not clear what the meetings could yield, or if stepped up enforcement could come as a result.