On September 20th, the Douglasville Police Department announced that they have arrested 19 juveniles and one adult in relation to the September 3rd brawl that shut down Arbor Place Mall.
The incident occurred during National Cinema Day at Regal Arbor Place & IMAX theaters. During National Cinema Day, theaters offer moviegoers the opportunity to attend a movie for just $3. Droves of unsupervised teens flocked to Arbor Place Mall to take advantage of this promotion on the day of the incident.
The brawl, which involved over 200 people had shoppers and mall employees hiding in fear. In addition to causing chaos, the shutting down of the mall had a negative economic impact on stores for the day. Although there were reports of gunfire, it was later found to be inaccurate.
The police investigation consisted of monitoring social media, reviewing video footage and interviews. According the the police department the individuals arrested range from 12 to 17 years old.
Some of the “charges include Disorderly Conduct, Affray, and Simple Battery”. Of the 19 people arrested, nine are facing charges for “violation of Georgia Street Gang and Terrorism Prevention Act“.
In a show of unity Douglasville Mayor Robinson, Douglas County School System Police Chief Whaley, Douglas County Sherriff Tim Pounds, Douglasville Police Chief Sparks, and various elected officials vowed to continue to work hard to keep our community safe and go after ill willed individuals. They will also review videos to search for more individuals involved in the incident.
According to the press release, the police department uses community outreach programs, education programs and town hall meetings to fight against “gang mentality”. The mall also has a Youth Escort Program (YEP) that requires that children age under the age of 18 to have an escort on the weekends after 4pm. Parents are also encouraged to monitor their “child’s social media accounts and bedrooms for indications of gang involvement or interest”.
The police department stressed the importance of parents actively monitoring their children, stating that unsupervised 12 year old’s should not be out on the weekends. They empathized that “parents should make sure their children understand this type of behavior will not be tolerated or ignored by law enforcement in Douglasville and Douglas County”.