MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – In the midst of Friday night foot traffic on Miami Beach, longboarders beat the pavement with purpose.
They gathered to raise money for 22-year-old skateboarder Rene Betancourt who was brutally beaten and left for dead in downtown Miami.
It’s believed Betancourt was trying to connect with the Miami Longboard Crew (MLC) , a group of local skateboarders, who he’d seen on YouTube the night he was attacked.
“It’s depressing actually to see someone go down like that,” said MLC Skate Boarder Shane Wasseman. When asked had he met Rene before, he responded “No. Nobody had met him before.”
But that was only a minor detail for the group who took Betancourt’s beating personally.
“I didn’t know him, but he was coming out to skate with us and as far as we’re concerned, he’s one of us,” said MLC Skateboarder Andre Michael Bruni.
“It blew my mind because it could’ve been me or any one of my friends out here late night,” stated MLC Skateboarder Mark Espinal.
That’s why the MLC brotherhood of longboarders teamed up for a good old fashioned push race charity event.
“His [Betancourt’s] hospital bill is like $200,000, and we’re going to collect as much as we can,” said Wasseman.
If nothing else has been learned from what happened to Betancourt, the Miami Longboard Crew says they will certainly be focusing more on safety to prevent a similar incident from happening again.
“We’re realizing we need to stay together as far as skating around in numbers and stuff like that promoting safety, not just with our helmets but also riding in groups,” said Bruni.