Air Jordan Madness: Pepper Spray, Fights, Arrests Across America as Frenzied Shoppers Scramble for Hot Kicks
Forget Black Friday. The most chaotic holiday shopping scenes of 2011 will most likely be of frenzied Nike fanatics scrambling to get their hands on a pair of Air Jordan 11 Retro Concords.
The highly-anticipated sneakers were released in the wee hours of the morning Friday, with thousands of shoppers across lining up outside malls and stores for hours as they waited for doors to open.
It wasn’t a pretty sight.
The Associated Press reports a nationwide wave of violence and arrests over the coveted kicks, with near-riots breaking out and pepper spray being used against unruly shoppers.
Police in Tukwila, Washington, a Seattle suburb, struggled to deal with a amped-up crowd of more than 1,000 people.
“It was not a nice, orderly group of shoppers,” Tukwila Officer Mike Murphy told the AP. “There were a lot of hostile and disorderly people.”
“Around 3 (a.m.) there started to be some fighting and pushing among the customers,” Murphy said. “Around 4, it started to get pretty unruly and officers sprayed pepper spray on a few people who were fighting, and that seemed to do the trick to break them up.”
Dozens of police officers were called in to deal with Air Jordan-related violence at the Carolina Place Mall in Pineville, North Carolina after fights broke out around 5 this morning. Fights were also reported at the SouthPark and Northlake malls near Charlotte.
In Taylor, Michigan, around 100 people forced their way into a shopping center in hopes of snagging a pair of the $180 sneakers. They flipped benches and tore up holiday decorations; one man was arrested.
Troy Patch reports one shopper was injured as the chaos ensued.
“One kid was trampled and hurt his arm, maybe even broke it at Somerset,” said Officer Andy Breidenich, public information officer for the Troy Police Department.
In Lithonia, Georgia, at least four more people were arrested after a wild crowd broke down a store door prior to opening this morning. Twenty-three-year-old Amisha Worrel was arrested for leaving her two toddlers in a car while she went to buy a pair of the shoes.
Air Jordans have been wildly popular since they were first introduced in 1985. The sneakers have gained a cult status among their legions of faithful fans, who often line up in front of stores hours or even days before the latest version of the shoe is released.
On Ebay, bidding was up to $500 on the Air Jordans, with one pair being offered for the “buy it now” price of $1,000.
But not everyone gets what all the hype is about.
“I don’t understand why they’re so important to people,” Seattle-area shopper Carlisa Williams told KING-TV. “They’re just shoes at the end of the day. It’s not worth risking your life over.”
Williams was holding two pairs of Air Jordans as she left the mall.
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