A San Jose father was with his son at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on Father’s Day when he claimed he was reportedly kicked out of the park for his arm tattoos that said “Pinoy Pride.”
Mark Devera was recording his son on a ride when he said he was approached by park officials who told him he had to leave the park because his tattoos were allegedly “gang related.”
“It’s an expression of me being proud to be Pinoy, a Filipino gentleman,” Devera said to KPIX. “I’m proud of my country, you know, I’m proud of who I am.”
After being asked to leave, Devera said he asked to speak to the manager who looked at his tattoos and said he could stay but still had to cover them up if he were to stay. In the video he recorded and posted on his Facebook page, Devera showed others at the park who had tattoos.
“I said you’re going to talk to that guy and tell him to leave because he’s representing Las Vegas?” Devera said about another person who was at the park. “And all I heard were crickets. They couldn’t even respond.”
He said the incident made him feel “embarrassed” and “violated.”
“I’m being harassed here and violated. I felt like I’ve been stripped off of my First Amendment. I’m a dad of four, who works Monday through Friday,” he told the TV station.
Upon seeing the incident between his father and the officers, Devera said his son was upset and cried.
Meanwhile, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk released a statement to KPIX, saying:
“As an open-gate, free-admission amusement park, all Guests and their unique forms of expression are welcome. Some tattoos and other forms of expression may cause negative or aggressive reactions from some guests. At times we might ask Guests to cover these types of tattoos or clothing. When contacting a guest our goal is to have a respectful dialogue about our policies and our efforts to ensure everyone has a safe experience at the park.
With regards to this specific incident, the gentleman was not kicked off the Boardwalk. We did engage him in a dialogue and asked him to cover his tattoo out of an abundance of caution. After a lengthy discussion he agreed and remained at the park. However, this incident has caused us to engage in an internal investigation and discussion regarding our approach to this type of issue and we are working to determine if changes to our approach are warranted.”