Dec 23, 2011

Police used pepper spray to break up a rowdy crowd of 2,000 jostling to buy new Air Jordan Concord XI shoes in suburban Seattle, while officers also made arrests in suburban Detroit and in DeKalb county outside Atlanta.

The Seattle Times says the police at theWestfield Southcenter mall in Tukwila, Wash., were so outmanned they had to call for support from some two dozen officers around the Seattle area. One person was arrested.

"We used pepper spray on some of the fights to disrupt the crowds," Tukwila police Officer Mike Murphy said, according to the Times. "This was not a pro-police crowd. The crowd was less than cooperative with instructions from police to quit fighting and to quit cutting."

Most of the trouble broke out in front of two shoe stores that opened at 4 a.m. to sell the new $180 Nike shoe. At one point, the crowd broke down a door, the Associated Press reports.

Seattle police also reported pushing and shoving, but no arrests, as 100 shoebuyers descended on Seattle's Northgate Mall.

In Taylor, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, police said Southland Mall security called police for assistance at around 5:30 a.m. today when a large crowd of about 300 people was lined up outside the shopping center, which was not scheduled to open until 8 a.m., the Detroit Free Press reports.

Police said about 100 people broke into the mall by forcing open the main doors. Police officers from four surrounding towns assisted Taylor, Mich., police in the melee.

Crowds also gathered outside sports apparel shops in other parts of the state, the Associated Press reports.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports that about 300 people waited at The Crossroads mall in Portage in southwest Michigan. Police were called to disperse the crowd. About a dozen people sat in lawn chairs Thursday night outside one shop in Southfield, north of Detroit, according to the AP.

In Georgia, as many as 20 squad cars responded after a large crowd apparently broke down the door to the Mall at Stonecrest in Lithonia while waiting for a store to open at 8 a.m., Fox 5 Atlanta reports.

Update at 2:07 p.m. ET: In Kentucky, the Louisville Metro Police were called around 4 a.m. to Jefferson Mall to break up a fight among a large crowd waiting to buy a new shoe, a police spokeswoman says, according to The Courier-Journal.

Officers were also called out because of disruptive crowds at Wellington, Fla., at two Indianapolis malls and on Staten Island.

Update at 3:18 p.m. ET: In Louisiana, several people were hurt when a crowd surged into the Alexandria Mall when it opened at 6 a.m. so stores could sell a limited number of the AJ shoe, our Gannett colleagues at The News Star report. A front door was broken, and local police ordered the mall closed temporarily. It reopened at 9 a.m.

Several shoppers were taken to a local hospital and treated for minor injuries.
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