Graffiti at skate park vigil triggers confrontation with police; 3 arrested, Costa Mesa park closed for cleanup

Volcom Skate Park in Costa Mesa is expected to be closed the next few days as city crews remove graffiti that officials say was spray-painted during a memorial service there Sunday night that turned into a confrontation between park visitors and police officers.

About 200 people gathered at the park to remember Daniel Moya, a 20-year-old Costa Mesa resident and avid skateboarder who died recently, according to his friends.

Guests said the vigil was peaceful, but city officials said some people who were there vandalized the park at 900 Arlington Drive, prompting police to respond shortly after 8 p.m. Police arrested two men and a teenager who they said were uncooperative with officers.

Photos posted on social media show spray-painted tributes to Moya inside one of the bowls in the skate park.

According to police Lt. Greg Scott, more than 100 people encircled an officer, challenged the officer’s authority, yelled profanities and banged their skateboards on the ground.

Scott said Newport Beach police officers, Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies and a Huntington Beach police helicopter crew responded to assist. About 50 officers helped manage the crowd and cleared the park shortly after 8:30 p.m.

Josue Rivera, 22, of Costa Mesa was Tased by officers who said he was resisting arrest. He was taken to a hospital to be examined and was arrested on suspicion of refusing to disperse, resisting police and using offensive/threatening language in public.

Jovanovic Alexander, 21, also of Costa Mesa, was arrested on suspicion of refusing to disperse and resisting police. He was booked into Orange County Jail with bail set at $500.

A 17-year-old whom police did not identify was arrested on suspicion of vandalism, instigating a riot, refusing to disperse and using offensive/threatening language in public. The teen was booked into Orange County Juvenile Hall, police said.

City Parks and Community Services Director Justin Martin said that although the graffiti included tributes to Moya, vulgar language also was spray-painted inside the facility.

“It started as a candlelight vigil and then morphed into something that was a little bit more destructive,” Martin said.

City crews Monday began the task of removing graffiti from restroom walls, skate bowls and fences and cleaning up trash left behind, Martin said.

Workers are using a high-pressure water sprayer to remove some of the markings, but certain areas will need to be repainted, he said.

Police estimated it will cost $3,000 to clean up the park.

“With summertime being here and school being out, the facility is used up to 12 hours a day and we don’t want our impressionable youth to go there and see vulgar language and graffiti,” Martin said. “It’s not something we want kids to think is OK.”

hannah.fry@latimes.com

Twitter: @HannahFryTCN

Daniel Moya was 20, according to a family member. A previous version of this article gave his age as 22.
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