Is Kentucky's day-after-Christmas mall riot a sign that teen domestic terrorism is out of control in Louisville? This may be especially true since two of the four incidents (since 2014) were premeditated, violent, and could have involved the FBI.
Things in Louisville were normal over Christmas week until teen-motivated violence broke out at Mall St. Matthews on December 26 -- and it is not the first time that Louisville teens have created acts of terrorism since 2014.
On top of that, according to PolitiFact and others, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the FBI have trouble defining the term terrorist -- and this means that the Louisville, Kentucky teens may soon find themselves behind the bars of federal prison instead of doing community service (if charges are filed).
Around March 22, 2014, Fox News described a terrorist attack by about 200 Louisville teens that led to acts of violence in Downtown, Louisville. Altogether, 17 reports came forward about Kentucky teens surrounding adults to kick and beat them.
The city of Louisville said their response would be to install more cameras in the Downtown area, and only two arrests were made in what may have been a premeditated, organized terrorist event.
On April 7, 2014, Louisville, Kentucky mayor, Greg Fischer, spoke about the March 22, 2014, terrorist incident because the Kentucky Derby festivities were in progress. WDRB reports Fischer scolded guardians of the Kentucky teen terrorists and stated the following.
"We see the kids do the behavior. But the question is: Who is behind the kid, and how are they accountable and how are they involved with that kid's life as well?"About five months later, Kentucky teen terrorists were allegedly about to carry out another premeditated attack called the "Louisville Purge." Around August 16, 2014, Fox 8 Live reports that police interrupted the potential teen terrorist attack by talking with the Kentucky teen that initiated the Louisville Purge on social media.
Although the Louisville Purge was downplayed in the media as a "prank" or "hoax" instead of terrorism that could have instigated violence -- kid-related events were cancelled around Louisville and people were frightened.
On November 30, WHAS 11 reported that a minor fight broke out at the Mall St. Matthews in Louisville, Kentucky after Thanksgiving. However, this only involved a couple of teens -- and was not necessarily a premeditated act of terrorism carried out by teens in Kentucky.
About the November incident at the mall, St. Matthews Patrolman, Dennis McDonald said, "I can assure you if police officers had arrived on the scene, and we were the ones breaking it up, someone would've went to jail."
If a minor fight at the Mall St. Matthews made Patrolman McDonald angry, what happened on December 26 at the same place likely made him blow his top.
Unfortunately, it appears that Kentucky will now have to decide what to do about the fourth, most recent teen terrorism incident in Louisville and Patrolman McDonald has lots to say.
On the evening of December 26, the Courier-Journal reported that the Mall St. Matthews in Louisville, Kentucky was closed because a riot of almost 2,000 teens began around 7 p.m.
According to Patrolman McDonald, the incident took several hours, a helicopter, and over 50 personnel from "Louisville agencies" to break up the violent event. Although Wave3 reported there were shots fired, Patrolman McDonald said that was not confirmed.
On the other hand, the incident may have been premeditated [on social media, according to the Associated Press via The Herald Leader], but it is unclear if that will carry much weight. Patrolman McDonald claimed that the Mall St. Matthews was being used by parents as a "babysitter" and that many of the teens (some as young as 11) that were involved in the December 26 incident were unsupervised minors.
Furthermore, the Courier-Journal says, "While McDonald said that authorities believe that the disturbances kept increasing due to the juveniles' use of social media, they do not believe the entire incident was coordinated."
Alternatively, on December 27, the authorities in Louisville seemed to be changing their minds about the severity of the Louisville teen incident at Mall St. Matthews. For example, WHAS 11 states the following.
"Police originally called the incidents disturbances but later called it a 'riot' after police became overwhelmed. Police believe much of the incidents stemmed from social media and had to call 50 officers from 4 different agencies to get the area under control."Enforcement agencies and courts may also change their minds about the "shots fired" incident that several victims of the St. Matthews Mall riot reported. Despite conflicting police reports, WDRB states that there were several reported events of kids running up to adults during the rioting and telling them they heard gunshots.
Interestingly, there were no arrests related to the Mall St. Matthews riot on December 26 -- but that does not necessarily mean it is over. In particular, Kentucky may choose to prosecute the parents under their laws instead of the children since most of the offenders at Mall St. Matthews were unsupervised. Mall St. Matthews may also file lawsuits after security footage is reviewed.
In addition, after mall security footage is reviewed, Kentucky may decide that there could be charges for those that were "inciting a riot" -- which may or may not be defined as terrorism, according to "Incitement to Riot in the Age of Flash Mobs," by Margot E. Kaminski.
Nevertheless, as Kentucky law also points out, since inciting a riot must involve at least five people, it is likely that 2,000 is considered much more than "disorderly conduct" and may be in the felony range.
Other agencies that may be involved in prosecuting the 2,000 teens involved in the St. Matthews terrorism event on December 26 are the FBI and the DHS. In a recent publication, the Louisville FBI directly addressed the public and stated they were actively looking for leads from regular citizens about suspicious terrorist actions -- teens included.
Of course, the DHS has its own program called "See Something, Say Something" and states the following about criteria for terrorism leads.
"Factors such as race, ethnicity, and/or religious affiliation are not suspicious. The public should only report suspicious behavior and situations (e.g., an unattended backpack or package, or someone breaking into a restricted area). Only reports that document behavior that is reasonably indicative of criminal activity related to terrorism will be shared with federal partners."[Picture by Hulton Archive/Getty Images]