ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – Ferguson police are currently investigating a scuffle that broke out inside a Walmart store, which subsequently went viral through videos all over social media.
“I’ve seen some videos on social media and it’s embarrassing. I’ll call it that,” said Ferguson Police Chief Frank McCall.
The video shows chaos in the Walmart self-checkout area off West Florissant Avenue. Many people get involved in a scuffle, when several individuals throw objects and place fire extinguishers.
“You could be watching anywhere from 10 to maybe 25 people [involved]’ said McCall.
McCall said what they know so far is that this conflict took place on Tuesday night, after a minor incident earlier that night was handled internally and did not call the police.
“Obviously it was back up right after that,” he said.
Police arrived at 9 p.m. for the second incident, but everything was settled by the time they arrived at the store. McCall said the department is working with Walmart to obtain video surveillance from inside the store.
Walmart declined to comment on the incident and referred all questions to police.
“We were able to identify a number of individuals involved. The fact that you have individuals who may have physically assaulted each other or have been assaulted, we have to make sure they are prepared and ready to prosecute,” McCall said. “But the other thing is that we also have Walmart as a victim and I believe they will prosecute because they also have some property damage.”
Shoppers and residents who were at Walmart on Tuesday night or frequent the store, are now calling for the store to close after similar events have occurred at the location before.
Based on this, News 4 asked Sheriff McCall if he considered the site a nuisance to the surrounding community.
“No, I don’t consider it a public nuisance. I think the problem is this, that [this] Walmart could have been anywhere in this area,” he said. “It all depends on the parties involved.”
McCall said Walmart made an effort to hire its own security for the position. News 4 saw several on-site security vehicles at Walmart Wednesday, but it’s not clear from eyewitness videos of the incident if security was present at the time of the melee.
“I would say it’s not isolated just to this location, and not just to this business. We have a lot of different incidents going on not just in businesses but even on public streets,” McCall said. “And trying to move it is not the point. You want to stop it.”
He said that preventing incidents like this at Walmart or any other location requires accountability and visibility.
“One thing is you have to be prepared to prosecute; that’s number one. But more importantly, where the best deterrent in the world is is visibility. So the point comes in and is there, and then… let’s say you’re security, that you’re well and ready to contact law enforcement if there’s a problem. “
At this time, no arrests have been made or injuries have been reported to police.
“I think what we would like to do is have the opportunity to speak with the victims mentioned to confirm the identities of those we believe we have identified and then we will take action. appropriate action at the time.”
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