LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Policy and rule changes are expected at Mall St. Matthews after a chaotic situation on Saturday that forced the mall to close early.
Representatives of the St. Matthews Police Department, Louisville Metro Police Department, St. Matthews City Government, and Mall St. Matthews Management will be holding a press conference on Wednesday at 10 a.m. to address the disturbance.
Some stores went on lockdown after multiple fights broke out in the mall. Eventually, management decided to close the entire mall early. Police said 1,000 to 2,000 juveniles were at the mall, some of them disturbing shoppers.
Several law enforcement agencies, including Jeffersontown Police, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the Louisville Metro Police Department and St. Matthews Police, converged on the mall, along with K-9 units and a police helicopter.
St. Matthews police did confirm injuries were reported, but did not say how many were injured or the extent of any injuries. They are expected to provide specifics during Wednesday’s press conference.
Donnita White was shopping with her 23-year-old son Kevin Cornelius Saturday night when things got out of control.
“I’m not going to sit up here and say they was all angels and good,” White said. “Ninety-eight percent was actually shopping, two percent were acting ridiculous they were out of hand.”
White said when she saw the teens running, she tried to get them to stop.
“When the kids see a cop they would take off running,” White said. “I told the young lady, ‘Don’t run you’ll get trampled over. Stand up against the wall.'”
White was worried about her son who was in a wheelchair. He’s no stranger to chaos. In May 2006, Kevin Cornelius was hit by a car while on his bicycle on Bardstown Road. He was left paralyzed from the waist down. On Saturday, White just wanted to make sure her son got out of the mall safely.
“They didn’t have no respect for him being in a wheelchair because they were just running so that kind of made me mad,” White said.
The crowd outnumbered officers focused on restoring order and disbursing the crowd.
Louisville attorney Felicia Nu’Man was also shopping Saturday at the mall.
“I can see how it could have been overwhelming for the police,” Nu’Man said.
Nu’Man said although numerous officers from different agencies responded, she questioned why more police weren’t already at the mall on a busy shopping day. She added that the movie theater also draws more people than usual and said the teens got scared once they saw police.
“I don’t know what they expected to happen,” Nu’Man said. “Did they expect them to orderly march out in single files lines?”
Both women hope that something positive can come out of Saturday’s situation and the mall can be a place where everyone can feel safe.
No arrests were made that night. Nu’man said there was not basis for officers to arrest anyone.