People in Louisville are divided about a recent event on December 26 at Mall St. Matthews in Kentucky, but the “mall brawl” or “riot” may have ended up being the rather unexpected byproduct of a rainy day. Furthermore, according to at least one kid interviewed about the alleged riot, all Louisville kids really want is a safe place to have fun.
Alternatively, when the public hears that one of the busiest shopping days of the year has had a special visit from the police at a mall, no one is happy — especially in today’s climate of prevalent public violence.
Unfortunately, the public may never learn all of the details related to the Louisville Mall St. Matthews incident because the FCC‘s Child Internet Protection Act states, “Unauthorized disclosure, use, and dissemination of personal information regarding minors” is prohibited.
On top of that, Mall St. Matthews also claims they did not have security camera footage and do not want to escalate the situation, according to Biz Journals.
About the lack of cameras at the mall that could have been helpful in chronicling the incident with more accuracy, St. Matthews patrolman, Dennis McDonald, stated the following on December 29 according to the Courier-Journal.
“If you hear some frustration in my voice, [it is because] they don’t have video inside the mall. Individual stores may have video, but the mall itself does not.”
About the future, McDonald also said, “We’re still looking into whether or not some of this was pre-planned, whether there was a gang element involved,” according to a December 28 USA Today report.
The Daily Mail reports on December 27 that in addition to the Louisville Mall St. Matthews incident, there were other “mall brawls” across America within a short period of time.
As the Courier-Journal and others point out, social media and the comments section posts of many articles about the Louisville Mall St. Matthews incident are from citizens that were at the event — and they are still feeling confused.
For instance, on the day of the December 26 Louisville mall brawl, one Twitter user thought the incident may have been caused by University of Louisville and University of Kentucky basketball rivalry.
For some that posted comments on an Insider Louisville opinion piece, the confusion was about the way the incident may have been exaggerated in the media — while others were not sure if the media was downplaying the incident.
Also, some comments under news articles insinuated that they felt that on-the-scene videos were disappearing or did not exist in the first place.
This confusion may or may not have been addressed in WLKY‘s December 27 or Wave3‘s December 28 coverage of the Louisville Mall St. Matthews fighting where witnesses spoke out and businesses contributed their own video footage to the press.
Although concerns about shots fired, the size of the group, and the actual violence of the group are still being investigated, Yahoo! Australia posted social media videos and an alleged video of fighting at Mall St. Matthews on December 26 with footage of an indoor window being broken.
On December 29, WDRB interviewed a mother that had a son injured at the Mall St. Matthews incident that stated the following.
“When I saw my son again, his whole mouth was bloody. From a mother’s standpoint, it was more than minor. It was pretty major.”
Whether or not the media incident was overblown (or exaggerated by the media or witnesses) as was alleged in an opinion piece by WFPL, not everyone thought the incident was about race and many members of the public seem to simply want an unbiased investigation to be finalized as soon as possible.
According to Wave3, business owners near the Louisville mall incident are still upset about the fact that there has been no charges filed, but perhaps local police in St. Matthews were following President Obama’s lead due to his reaction to the Baltimore riots.
For example, MTV wrote on April 29 that President Obama was angry at Baltimore protesters (mainly teens) for being “thugs” and asked for non-violent protests only.
Regardless, Obama was quoted by the Chicago Tribune immediately addressing the violence at the Baltimore riots by teens by saying, “It’s too easy to ignore those problems or to treat them just as a law-and-order issue as opposed to a broader social issue.”
Obama went on to say the following about what to do about teen violence that leads to public “disturbances” like the ones at the Louisville mall or full-scale riots.
“In those environments, if we think that we’re just going to send the police to do the dirty work of containing the problems that arise there, without as a nation and as a society saying what can we do to change those communities, to help lift up those communities and give those kids opportunity, then we’re not going to solve this problem. And we’ll go through the same cycles of periodic conflicts between the police and communities and the occasional riots in the streets. And everybody will feign concern until it goes away and then we go about our business as usual.”
However, in Louisville, the problem appears to be teens unaccompanied by adults — or what Mall St. Matthews employees say is the mall “babysitting” kids, according to a WDRB report from December 28.
As it appears, at least one teen is not denying the fact that lots of unsupervised kids are showing up at places like Mall St. Matthews — but claims they may have a good reason that could be easily addressed by society (as Obama suggested).
A few days after the Louisville Mall St. Matthews fighting and police interaction, teens started to speak out about the incident.
In particular, WLKY reports on December 29 that teens that knew about the Louisville mall incident told them that there “is a lack of safe options west of Interstate 65 [in the West End neighborhood of Louisville].”
Also, these teens added that there are few options for teens that want to avoid “sitting in the house just playing games” and “not being in the streets.” For this reason, the teens in the West End of Louisville often ride a bus across town to Mall St. Matthews.
Despite this, one teen also pointed out that lots of teens were at the Mall St. Matthews on Saturday, December 26, because “places like the Boys and Girls Club are closed on Saturday.”
Adding to what these teens said, other entertainment options for the night may have been closed because it was raining. For example, WDRB reports on December 28 that another bus-accessible place, an ice rink in Jeffersonville, Indiana, was also closing more often because of the unseasonably warm and rainy weather.
Obviously, a popular destination for post-Christmas teens that are bored, when the rain may have threatened to shut down other entertainment options for the bus-riding teens, the Mall St. Matthews may have seemed like the only dry place open during a holiday weekend where teens could travel (an hour or more across town on the bus) to meet up with friends.
Currently, Mall St. Matthews will reveal rule changes on December 30, according to a December 29 WLKY report, and the injury information will be released for the first time.
Alternatively, the media has not yet addressed funding the Boys and Girls Club in Louisville for Saturday night events as a possible solution at this time.
[Picture by Pool/Getty Images]