Black Friday brawls? The worst holiday violence in NJ (VIDEO)
Every year, you hear about them — Black Friday stampedes, brawls and overall insanity. And with plenty of stores opening on Thanksgiving this year, maybe the Black Friday mayhem will actually start on Thursday.
Then again, maybe things will be relatively calm, at least here in New Jersey. A breakdown by Reviews.org, taking into account FBI crime data and Black Friday-related Google search trends, found New Jersey to be the seventh-lowest risk for violence on the shopping "holiday."
(Avoid shopping in Tennessee if you value your well-being, according to those stats).
Perhaps the most severe violence we've seen on a Black Friday in recent years in New Jersey was in 2016, when a 20-year-old Atlantic City man was shot several times and killed outside the Macy's Store at the Hamilton Mall in May's Landing at around 1 a.m. But it's unclear what exactly prompted that shooting — it wasn't among the usual customer-heavy mayhem people usually associate with the beginning of the holiday shopping season.
Most of the shopper-on-shopper violence we've seen has actually been later in the shopping season. Last year, two days before Christmas, last-minute shoppers at the Newport Mall in Jersey City found themselves confronted with a pre-Christmas brawl, caught on camera and spreading wildly on social media.
"I just seen a bunch of flying fist and I seen the security guards getting punched and anyone that was in the way getting punched," Larissa L., 37, of Newark told the Jersey Journal.
Jersey City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill told the Journal the fight involved a group of minors and no one was hurt or arrested.
Then, a few days later, there was chaos at the Mills at Jersey Gardens — false reports of a shooting spread throughout social media after a chair was thrown and hit the ground with a bang during a fight between four unidentified women in the food court, authorities said at the time.
A person falsely yelled that the sound was a gunshot, causing police to evacuate the mall, spokeswoman Kelly Martins told New Jersey 101.5. After being evacuated, around 1,000 people were waiting for the public transportation in the rain at 8 p.m. and only buses and emergency vehicles were permitted entry,
Eight to 10 people suffered non-life threatening injuries and were treated on the scene, including an 8-year-old with a cut finger and a 12-year-old with leg injury, Mayor Chris Bollwage said last year. Those injured were transferred to local hospitals for further evaluation and have since been released.
A teen was stabbed at the Monmouth Mall on December 16 of last year. Cell phone video of the incident showed about 10 people involved in an altercation in the middle of the mall in front of Macy’s and Kay Jewelers. The teen survived that incident.
So all in all, New Jersey can't hold a candle to some of the more infamous Black Friday chaos from around the nation, like this one, in which a woman used a stun gun at the Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia in 2013:
Or this one, in Roseville, California, that took out the side of some kind of bungee attraction in 2012:
No, here in New Jersey, we save our most ridiculous holiday shopping brawls for the off-season, like back in 2016, when we actually took a report from Jersey City's Morill that said:
“Following their investigation today, Jersey City detectives are charging both the Easter Bunny and the father of the child in the incident from the Newport Centre Mall on Sunday.”
The Easter Bunny Kassim Charles, of Bergen Avenue also had a warrant out for “fare hopping,” she said. Really.
The statement references a fight between Charles, 22 and hopping-mad father Juan Jimenez-Guerrero, 44, of Bright Street. he fight began with ugly words from Jimenez-Guerrero — the father of a toddler who slipped off the bunny’s lap on Sunday — authorities said. Morrill said Jimenez-Guerrero began physically and verbally attacking Charles, who was still wearing the bunny suit, around 5 p.m. on a Sunday shortly before Easter, after his daughter’s picture was taken with the costumed character.
We're hoping wherever you're spending your time this Thanksgiving and Black Friday, you're keeping safe — and we won't be seeing you in the next hectic video with run on NJ1015.com.
— With previous reports by Dan Alexander and Avalon Zoppo
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