Coaches outraged after being kicked off public playground
Two gymnastic coaches say they were kicked off a public playground and insulted by a public safety officer.
Ryan Mallon, 25, and Enrique Montanez, 24, say they use the Parkour method, where followers train their body and mind to overcome obstacles.
"Being able to go outside and find ways to use the environment to exercise and train both your body and mind are very important," said Mallon.
The men say they were training on the playground at Lido Beach Town Park last week, with parents and children playing nearby. They say a park employee told them to leave because they were too old, but they did not listen.
A Hempstead public safety officer then showed up and also told them they were too old and had to leave. Part of the exchange was recorded on a cellphone.
The men say they were told about signs that clearly state the age each piece of playground equipment is designed for. They did see the signs, but asked why the public safety officer told them they couldn't be in the playground at all.
The cellphone captured the officer saying, "In the playground grounds you have to be that age, or accompany a child of that age."
News 12 Long Island looked all around the park and did find a lot of signs, but none that specifically say you have to be with a child in order to be at the playground.
What made matters worse, according to the coaches, is when the officer said, "Bottom line is I don't like pedophiles and you guys being here without kids, makes you look like pedophiles."
The town issued a statement saying common sense dictates that playground equipment isn't designed for adults. Several phone calls and emails from News 12 went unanswered.
The men have consulted an attorney, but wouldn't say if they plan on filing any lawsuits.