Witnesses Describe Black Friday Fight at Woodland Mall

Posted at 4:53 PM, Nov 23, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-23 21:29:10-05

KENTWOOD, Mich- A fight broke out during Black Friday shopping at the Woodland Mall early Friday morning a few hours after the stores opened at midnight. However, the fight wasn’t related to grabbing a bargain. Instead, witnesses said it involved two groups of teens who got into a fight because they didn’t like each other.

Kentwood police had made a point to add extra officers at the mall following a different fight between groups of teenagers the day after Christmas last year. The chaos during that fight was caught on security video. You can watch the attached video link for more on that recording.

This year’s Black Friday 2012 fight involved a foot chase through the mall following a scuffle. According to one woman, this fight ended with the suspects getting tackled.

Dory Hickey and her 11-year-old daughter Maddie say the incident actually started with a smaller fight that had taken place earlier in the evening. They said those teens continued to walk the mall. Then, around 1:30 AM, they say everything broke loose.

“There was all kinds of commotion, people running one way and security chasing them. Then, all of a sudden, the motion went back the other way and pepper spray filled the air,” says Hickey.

Hickey says the fight began in the mall area outside of JcPenny, which was not yet open at the time. Maddie says she jumped out of the way as police chased those involved.

“I`ve never really witnessed anything like that, so I was like really scared, I got against the wall,” says Maddie.

To escape police the Hickey’s saw one of the teens run over a shopper. “We watched a girl get trampled, and she looked like she got hurt,” says Dory.

“She was holding her wrist and stuff and the guy ran over her and she was sitting there holding her wrist, and she was crying and she got up and walked away,” says Maddie.

Then came the pepper spray, the Hickey’s breathing it in. “It just kind of burns a little bit,” says Dory

“I just started coughing and I`m like ‘I need water’,” says Maddie.

Next the shoppers say came the tackle. “The cops chased them down and pinned them down and took them,” says Dory.

“I don`t think it was too bad because the security guards got right in there and were like on the guy,” says Maddie.

Police in Kentwood had added extra foot patrol officers inside the mall to curb just that type of behavior immediately following the fight caught on security video there the day after Christmas in 2011.

“We`ve increased our visibility dramatically, more officers there, they are aggressive in their foot patrol, making contact with people,” says former Kentwood Police Chief Richard Mattice. He talked to us about the impact of adding extra officers during a special report we aired last week. Assaults dropped more than 80% and reports of disorderly people dropped more than 50% compared to the rate of the previous year.”

Meanwhile, at the Rivertown Mall, senior general manager Randy Zimmerman says they’ve had no problems on this Black Friday. However, he says they do have more than 100 cameras watching for trouble and like other malls, have a larger security team than usual on duty.

“I typically don`t talk specifics on security other than to say we`re fully staffed and then some on a day like today,” says Randy Zimmerman, Rivertown Mall.

Dory Hickey says authorities may not be able to control everything, but added security and quick response is key.

“They were just like patrolling there were like 3 for each hallway,” says Maddie.

“I think the mall security did a good job and there were cops there too, it was a little bit scary, but they had it,” says Dory.

Police took at least two people into custody following that early morning fight.