Air Jordans spark fights, vandalism and pepper spray incident (VIDEO)
Air Jordans went on sale Friday. Shoppers lined up all night to purchase the coveted sneakers, but in some states fights broke out and police made arrests.
Fights, vandalism and arrests marked the release of Nike's new Air Jordan basketball shoes as a shopping rush on stores across the United States led to unrest that nearly turned into rioting.Skip to next paragraph
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The outbursts of chaos stretched from Washington state to Georgia as shoppers — often waiting for hours in lines — converged on stores Friday in pursuit of the shoes, a retro model of one of the most popularAir Jordans ever made.
In suburban Seattle, police used pepper spray on about 20 customers who started fighting at the Westfield Southcenter mall. The crowd started gathering at four stores in the mall around midnight and had grown to more than 1,000 people by 4 a.m., when the stores opened, Tukwila Officer Mike Murphy said. He said it started as fighting and pushing among people in line and escalated over the next hour.
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Murphy said no injuries were reported, although some people suffered cuts or scrapes from fights. Shoppers also broke two doors, and 18-year-old man was arrested for assault after authorities say he punched an officer.
"He did not get his shoes; he went to jail," Murphy said.
Watch video of the crowds here:
The mayhem was reminiscent of the violence that broke out 20 years ago in many cities as the shoes became popular targets for thieves. It also had a decidedly Black Friday feel as huge crowds of shoppers overwhelmed stores for a must-have item.
In some areas, lines began forming several hours before businesses opened for the $180 shoes that were selling in a limited release.
As the crowds kept growing through the night, they became more unruly and ended in vandalism, violence and arrests.
A man was stabbed when a brawl broke out between several people waiting in line at a Jersey City, New Jersey mall to buy the new shoes, authorities said. The 20-year-old man was expected to recover from his injuries.
In Richmond, California, police say crowds waiting to buy the Air Jordan 11 Retro Concords at the Hilltop Mall were turned away after a gunshot rang out around 7 a.m.
No injuries were reported, but police said a 24-year-old suspect was taken into custody. The gun apparently went off inadvertently, the Contra Costa Times reported.
Seventeen-year-old Dylan Pulver in Great Neck, New York, said he's been looking forward to the release of the shoes for several years, and he set out at 4:30 a.m. to get a pair. After the first store he tried was too crowded, he moved on to a second location and scored a pair.
"I probably could have used a half a size smaller, but I was just really happy to have the shoe," he said.
The frenzy over Air Jordans has been dangerous in the past. Some people were mugged or even killed for early versions of the shoe, created by Nike Inc. in 1984.