Big brawl at the mall: What’s the plan to keep Hamilton Mall safe?
HAMILTON (Atlantic) — Video has emerged of the chaos inside a South Jersey mall on Saturday night, as a large group teens began to fight and throw chairs at police — leaving the mall considering its options to keep its facility a safe place.
Video posted by the news site Breaking AC shows a large group of teens and young adults in the Hamilton Mall's food court. Some small fights among groups of two or three teens break out as the larger group begins to move toward another area of the mall.
The clip cuts to another video that shows police officers trying to subdue teens on the floor of the mall.
The fights broke out Saturday evening and involved around 200 teens in the food court and in smaller groups gathered around the two-story mall in the Mays Landing section of Hamilton.
As police moved in to remove the food court group, teens began to throw chairs, food and other things at officers, as the smaller groups began to fight among themselves, according to police.
Five teen males and two adults from Mays Landing — Amir Vaughn, 18, and Theron Parrish-Jordan — were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
A Hamilton police supervisor was injured during the incident.
Mall spokeswoman Crystal Rodriguez said she confident that the mall remains a safe, family destination even though this isn't the first altercation at the mall. Others have not bee to the extent of Saturday night's incident.
"We have a top-notch, fully staffed security team that is here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also bring in two or three Township of Hamilton police officer here on Friday and Saturday for an added measure of security," Rodriguez said.
She said the mall's security team and management is working closely with police and township officials to determine a course of action. Rodriguez said the mall's security team and police presence will be increased . The suggestion of a curfew is not easy one to accomplish, according to Rodriguez.
"There's a lot that has to go into (a curfew) as far as ordinances and approval processes for it to have a real impact and for it to be taken seriously and enforced," Rodriguez said.
Tammy Tozier, of Cape May Court House, a witness to the Saturday night incident, said she will not return to the mall anytime soon, especially since police said they knew a fight on the mall had been publicized on Facebook.
Hamilton police said several smaller fights broke out throughout the day but they had quickly been contained.
"There should have been precautions other than police presence because obviously that didn’t stop it. My son is having a very hard time now after Saturday night. It’s not fair to the parents or the kids that have parents that care to have to endure what they endured on Saturday night," Tozier said.