Just after Thanksgiving, I wrote about the Black Friday melee, when shoppers missed the point of the season and seemingly headed straight from the dinner table to the mall. They were in search of severe savings (hopefully for gifts for friends and family), and for some, things got out of hand with reports of shoppers being pepper-sprayed and beaten as they stormed through stores.
Last Friday was more of the same, except there were no savings to be had. Nike released the $180 Air Jordan Retro Concords 11 at midnight, just in time for Christmas. As with the release of every Air Jordan shoe, thousands lined up to cop a pair at midnight. But this time things got really out of hand.
By Friday afternoon, there was an Internet rumor (since proven false) that a D.C. teen, 18-year-old Tyreek Amir Jacobs, had been shot while attempting to purchase the high-price shoes. A photo, allegedly of Jacobs, inscribed with his date of birth and date of death made the social media rounds, but calls to police revealed there had been no killings under such circumstances in the local area.
So there were no deaths, but things were still pretty bad. Police were called to shopping centers in Indiana, Florida, Texas and Virginia among other states to control crowds of hundreds lining up for the shoes.
“I don’t remember anything like this in the recent past at all, definitely not with the iPhone or anything like that,” a spokeswoman for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, told ABCNews.com.
In Houston, Fox news reported police arrived to a Foot Locker/House of Hoops store in response to a reported fight involving four males. Police detained the group. Some people were attacked with pepper spray, too.
The Associated Press reported at least four people were arrested in a mob scene at a suburban mall in Atlanta. Police had to smash the windows of a car to get two toddlers out after a woman left them there to go buy the shoes; she was taken into custody when she returned. Twenty police cars also responded after a crowd broke down a door to enter the mall before it opened.
A YouTube clip depicting a similar scene had gone viral by Christmas Day. It showed hundreds of teens and young adults — all Black — pouring into a mall in the early morning hours, trampling other shoppers and ripping the glass doors from the hinges.
ABCNews.com reported that within hours, hundreds of pairs of the shoes were on sale on eBay, some for more than $500. Many of the pairs already had dozens of bidders.
I really hope every man and woman camping out for shoes and waiting in the cold for shoes is standing in line to vote come November. Acting a fool and getting arrested for shoes? My people, my people… As one of the women I follow on Twitter put it, “Martin Luther King did not write ‘Letter From A Birmingham Jail’ for this.” We must do better.
Demetria L. Lucas is the author of “A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life” (Atria) in stores now. Follow her on Twitter @abelleinbk