A week after an alleged riot at Mall St. Matthews in Louisville, Kentucky, new rules are in effect to increase safety, but many are still confused about what happened and whether it was a “flash rob” crime, a bad day at the mall, or an absolute hoax.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the police from the St. Matthews Mall area stated that the public may never know the full picture of what happened on December 26 because the mall does not have its own security cameras.
Nevertheless, other evidence that was not released before December 28 attempts to paint a picture of why police were so panicked — but Mayor Greg Fischer has remained dismissive on the matter and, according to WDRB, implied that the situation on December 26 at the Mall St. Matthews was a “media creation.”
About the incident, Mayor Greg Fischer was quoted on December 30 stating the following:
“Nobody was hurt. Nobody stole anything. There was no damage to the property. I regret that any incident happened, but for the media to blow it up like the world’s coming to an end at the mall, I think is reflective of what we see in this 24-7 media cycle that we’re in right now.”
Unfortunately, Mayor Fischer may or may not have had the full reports at the time he made this announcement because his statement that no one was hurt and there was no property damage was contradicted by the St. Matthews Police Department and individual reports.
Although there have been a few published reports about people that claim they were there and that nothing happened, these isolated reports seem to contradict other reports of injuries and violence from the St. Matthews Police Department near the mall.
For instance, WHAS 11 reported the following on December 30, 2015.
“Incidents reported during the [December 26] unrest range from multiple fights and assaults to juveniles throwing bricks and other vandalized property. The St. Matthews Police Department said their investigation into the matter continues, with help from over a dozen stores willing to contribute security cam video.”
In another example, WDRB interviewed a stranger that helped a teen during the Mall St. Matthews December 26 incident that had his teeth pushed back after being pushed into plate-glass by the crowd.
— Josh Breslow (@JoshBreslowWDRB) January 2, 2016
Lex18 reports about the 911 calls that were received on the night of December 26 from Mall St. Matthews and says, “Dispatchers were warning nearby businesses to lock their doors… One caller told dispatchers about fights in front of the store Arhaus, another caller said they heard a ‘pow’ and then everyone started running.”
Whether or not the situation at the mall was overblown, WLKY reports that the mall has taken steps to improve the safety of Mall St. Matthews. However, it appears that the new chaperone policy may have a hidden agenda.
According to the personal blog called KY Forward, a former loss prevention worker writes that, because social media was used to draw people together at the Mall St. Matthews on December 26, it might have been a “flash rob” attempt that got interrupted and references the National Retail Federation (NRF).
Published in 2012, the NRF report about flash rob situations says “retailers and law enforcement should monitor social networks and websites for indications of a planned event,” and, “associates should report to store management or loss prevention whenever they see unusually large gatherings of people inside or directly outside the stores.”
The contradictions have piled up in other reports as well, and some are saying they do not understand why the media was making such a big deal out of the situation at Mall St. Matthews. For example, WFPL published a report on January 1 from a child at the scene and she reported the following.
“Apparently there were some fights, but I didn’t see any of them… I think some authority figures need to learn respect. Even though we are young, we still deserve respect. There were so many lies on the news. There were absolutely no riots. But the biggest lie was that it all started on social media.”
Regardless, the police near the Mall St. Matthews explain that there has been a crime wave going on for some time around the mall — and the situation (however big or small) on December 26 did not necessarily surprise them.
WDRB reports on December 30, 2015 that “Mall St. Matthews unrest had been building up since October.” They went on to state that the St. Matthews police spokesperson said that in the two months before the December 26 event, there was a long list of out-of-the-ordinary incidents.
These incidents included seven children setting fire to a bus stop, an increase in suspected gang clothing, “numerous reports of disruptive behavior, including youths who grabbed landscaping rocks and began throwing them at the windshields of passing cars,” and several young people walking around the mall with a gun in their waistband.
WDRB also reported that December 5 was the “most chaotic night to date for us” and “the number of juveniles inside the mall doubled.” That night there was also an assault and the person suffered from a head injury as a result.
But was the incident on December 26 at Mall St. Matthews a social-media-organized flash rob as the loss-prevention blogger indicated? After all, in the WDRB report, it was stated by the St. Matthews Police Department that “there were elements in this that may be involved in social media.”
Nevertheless, according to Insider Louisville, the St. Matthews police want to caution the public about incriminating all of the teens or children at the mall on December 26 and said the following about the incident at the mall.
“Not all of those kids were involved in criminal activity. In fact, a large number of them — probably the majority of them, many — were there for legitimate purposes… You had those in [the] middle who were caught up in what was going on. They were being entertained, and some of them joined in.”
Despite the still-pending outcome of the investigation of the incident and the confusion over whether the police, mall, or media may have over-reacted, Mayor Greg Fischer says the answer is simple.
When speaking about the violence in the Louisville public schools that has caused teachers to quit in the recent past, Mayor Fischer states the following, according to WHAS11.
“My wish for the New Year is for people to say ‘hey, how can I help this?’ instead of just complaining or blaming folks because in the end it takes all of us to be part of a solution.”
[Picture by Stephen Cohen/Stringer/Getty Images]