Some say police response was excessive after 73 teens were arrested at Carson mall

After more than 70 minors were arrested and ticketed in connection with a major public disturbance at a Carson shopping mall Saturday night, some parents and relatives of the children say police overreacted.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officers responded to the SouthBay Pavillion Mall at approximately 5:30 p.m. for reports of a large and disorderly gathering of an estimated 200 minors, forcing the mall to close earlier than normal.

According to authorities, some youths set off illegal fireworks in a store in the shopping center and someone else set fire to a garbage can.

Orders were issued to disperse the crowd, but the crowd reportedly refused to comply. Officials said additional police backup was called to the scene because the teens were disrupting business and endangering shoppers.

Sheriff’s deputies set up a perimeter and at one point were seen jumping into the bushes to apprehend several teenagers, many of whom were trying to get out of the mall when police arrived.

Jamila Buie’s 16-year-old cousin was one of the 73 teens arrested. She told KTLA she believes the police response was over the top.

“I think they should have arrested just the ones who started the fire, not all the kids,” she explained to KTLA’s Carlos Saucedo. “It’s only 30 people. They said they had video of the kids who started the fire.”

Deputies issued fines to minors for not dispersing and disturbing public order. Parents were forced to pick up their children, with some saying their children should never have been held by deputies.

“He’s exactly 11 years old,” Amber Lyn, whose son was being held, told KTLA. “No paperwork, never been in trouble. He’s straight A’s and he’s an athlete.”

Late last year, a similar incident occurred at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, leading to a curfew and a requirement for minors to be accompanied by adults in the mall.

There were no reports of injuries or thefts from stores at the Carson shopping center Saturday evening.

On Sunday the shopping centre was open again, although there was visible security present.

In a press release Sunday, Carson Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes said:

Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes said, “The safety and well-being of our residents and businesses is our top priority. We are taking immediate action to ensure incidents like this do not recur. The strength of our community lies in our ability to come together and address challenges head-on. I commend the Sheriff’s Department for their swift action and the community for their cooperation.”

While it’s unclear what those steps entail, other shoppers said they were shocked by the incident.

“I come to the mall here a lot,” said San Pedro resident Michelle Brooks. “I think it’s ridiculous. Parents should be able to be with their kids all the time.”

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