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Early Morning Shoppers Pepper Sprayed At Beaumont Wal-Mart

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by martin97, Nov 26, 2005.

  1. martin97

    martin97 Fuel busted Trucker. Founding Member

    Early morning shoppers at Beaumont’s Wal-Mart say they were pepper sprayed by an off-duty police officer working security as a large crowd gathered in the electronics department of the store.

    “There were some people trying to break thru the crowds because they were throwing up, and couldn`t breathe,” said one shopper, Andrenette Davis, “It was pretty bad.”

    The incident took place on what is often called “Black Friday,” a day retailers open their doors early to hundreds, sometimes thousands, looking for early holiday bargains.

    Numerous customers inside the store at the time tell KBTV the crowd gathered in the electronics department and some customers began shoving others. Witnesses say a Beaumont police officer - identified by the Beaumont Police Department as Officer Avie Ownby - told the crowd to back up. They say the officer then pulled out his can of pepper spray and sprayed it into the crowd. Sergeant Dean Crooks with the Beaumont Police Department tells KBTV they are investigating the incident, but that they investigate any incident where an officer uses force. He says Officer Ownby is a 20 year veteran of the force.

    According to those inside the store, the pepper spray hit adults and children and several employees. One woman says she fell and chipped her tooth on the ground.

    “It has no harmful effects,” said Sergeant Mike Earney of the Beaumont Police Department, “it focuses your attention from being aggressive to wanting to take care of the problem on yourself.”

    Several of the customers received medical attention by EMS in the parking lot. None were taken by ambulance to hospitals, but several of the customers told KBTV reporter Lydia Joseph they would drive themselves to area hospitals.

    KBTV contacted the store’s managers and Wal-Mart’s corporate headquarters for comment but we were told the Beaumont Police Department was handling the investigation and that there would be no comment from the company surrounding the incident.
  2. martin97

    martin97 Fuel busted Trucker. Founding Member

    Trampled shoppers released from the hospital

    (UPDATE, Cascade Township, November 25, 2005, 7:00 p.m.) It was a dangerous morning on Black Friday at a West Michigan Wal-Mart. Now, corporate representatives are responding to what happened.

    An impatient crowd stormed the doors in the mad rush to get to those door-buster deals inside.

    It was an ugly scene when the doors opened at the Cascade Township Wal-Mart. Hundreds of shoppers pushed and shoved their way into the store, trampling a number of customers, sending two to the hospital.

    At 5:00 a.m. the doors opened, holiday shoppers rushed in, and immediately one customer is pushed to the ground.

    "This is ridiculous. I do not want my life in danger for this," said shopper Karen Dietstra. "This is not worth it. This has been a tradition for years. I don't think that I have to get beat up to try to get a sale."

    Two shoppers from Grand Rapids did. One of them, 13-year-old Deja McHerron, had to be taken away by ambulance.

    "They stumbled over a pregnant lady and Deja was trying to help her get up. And they stumbled over her and they stepped on her back. And now she's going to the hospital," said McHerron's mother, Deborah.

    Duretha Arnold-Youngblood, 37, was also taken to the hospital, complaining of an injured knee. Both were released from the hospital after being treated.

    "It was really terrifying. If my husband wasn't there to cover me, I would not be home. Those people would have stepped on my back. They didn't care. It was bad," Arnold-Youngblood said.

    Her husband, Johnny Youngblood, took issue with what he calls a lack of security. Youngblood believes Wal-Mart should hire trained uniformed security guards to help bring order to the early-morning holiday crowd and not leave those duties to Wal-Mart associates.

    "They didn't have no security at all," said McHerron's sister, Sierra.

    "Wal-Mart did not do enough to protect us," Dietstra said.

    WalMart corporate spokesperson Marty Heires tells 24 Hour News 8 that the incident is regrettable.

    Heires says that of the 3800 Walmart stores nationwide, there's trouble at only a handful of them during after-Thanksgiving shopping.

    The spokesperson stressed such problems are rare, but that some stores do hire extra security for crowd control. He did not know if that was the case in Cascade Township. He did say there was staff outside directing the crowds and that next week managers will debrief the situation and assess if they could make changes to prevent it from happening again.

    24 Hour News 8 wanted to explore what measures other retailers take as well.

    A Meijer spokesperson says the day after Thanksgiving, they add extra sales staff but not additional security. Even with those early hour sales incentives, Meijer doesn't see those big crowds line up at closed doors because their doors are open 24 hours a day.

    Managers at Best Buy tell us they began preparing for this day a week ahead. They plan where to put sale items, rope off space for lines, and assigning staff to mix with the early morning crowd an hour before doors open. They hand out coffee and doughnuts and tickets for popular items to reduce the urgency for shoppers.

    "They're preselling things so you can get things you want now, so you're not so stressed out about being first in line. It controls the crowds. They know they have their items so they don't have to push and shove. They're directed where they need to be and it all flows very smoothly," Best Buy manager BOB Rose said.
  3. magnus392

    magnus392 Field Marshall Mags Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Yeah, folks gotta get that there TV for the young'ens 'for them ppl git on fer their kids first! Materialism....Capitalism....it is all a joke.
  4. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    It's horrible, man. I went to our local Wal-Mart to get some bottled water, and that was at 4 a.m. after I had left work. I NEVER see more than 3 people there at most, but the other morning there were literally 75 people inside, and more arriving every minute. Most people had TV's and DVD players STACKED in their carts. The electronics section was crammed packed.
  5. sniper-66

    sniper-66 Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Re: Trampled shoppers released from the hospital

    Sounds like they needed someone with a truncheon to take care of the idiots. A pregnant woman got trampled, WTF was she doing there? When are people going to take responsibility for their own actions? During the end times, I guess the way to do it is have a sale on Black Friday! Have one security guard inside, " Zis vay to ze showers"
  6. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    "Security" in retail speak is loss prevention. Has zip to do with crowd control. To my mind, crowds needing control calls for better planning for crowds. As for the preggies that put themselves in harm's way, I have little sympathy. As for the dolts that take little children into harm's way, they should not be allowed to breed in the first place. I mean, just how damn stupid can you be? These early morning cluster f**ks have been going on for years, they are known quantities, no mysteries or surprises remain. [nono]
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