11 teens arrested after large fight breaks out during ‘blitz’ of youth at Northgate Mall

Several teens were arrested after a large fight at Northgate Mall in Colerain Township Thursday...
Several teens were arrested after a large fight at Northgate Mall in Colerain Township Thursday night, a police spokesman said.(FOX19 NOW)
Updated: Dec. 27, 2019 at 5:36 PM EST
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COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, Ohio (FOX19) - Twelve juveniles were arrested Thursday night after a large fight broke out when more than 200 youth converged on a Cincinnati-area mall, police say.

A social media post urged kids to show up at Northgate Mall in Colerain Township about 6:30 p.m., but it led to violence and chaos that shut down the mall and prompted several nearby restaurants to lock their doors and only serve food in drive-thru windows, according to James Love, spokesman for Colerain Township police.

Image of social media post that urged kids to show up at Northgate Mall in Colerain Township on...
Image of social media post that urged kids to show up at Northgate Mall in Colerain Township on the evening of Dec. 26(Colerain Township Police Department)

The fight erupted in the food court, with the kids reportedly rushing the doors 30 to 40 at a time, Love told FOX19 NOW.

Most of the juveniles were junior-high school students who are too young to drive, he explained.

“This was a blitz of hundreds of kids,” Love told our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer. “Without supervision. Without any respect for their order. Without respect for each other. That’s pretty much the chaos that happened tonight.”

No injuries were reported, Love said.

One 13-year-old, two 14-year-olds, four 15-year-olds, and four 16-year-olds were charged with criminal trespass, according to the criminal complaints.

In addition to trespass, one of the 15-year-olds was charged with assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and menacing.

Two juveniles made initial appearances in Hamilton County Juvenile Court on some charges connected to the incident: a male held on charges of trespassing and runaway, and a female facing several charges including disorderly conduct.

Police moved the crowd off mall property as the mall was closed, Love said, but then they flooded neighboring fast food restaurants.

"Once they were out of the mall, they barraged McDonalds, Taco Bell, Burger King, the businesses around the mall," he said.

“Those kids were just standing there, they weren’t ordering anything, they were being obnoxious so they just locked their doors.”

There will be a strong police presence at the mall until at least the end of next week, he said.

Are the malls safe?

“You can rest assured they are now. We will address this. We are working on a plan already," Love said. "We are going to have someone at the main entrance coming in. We are going to be aggressive on this and will be for the whole Christmas break. We will be talking to Northgate Mall and about their policies in the future.”

The fight occurred just hours after Kenwood Towne Centre in Sycamore Township implemented a a new curfew rule for youth.

The curfew requires guests under 18 to be supervised by an adult during certain times. It was put in place to eliminate disruptive behavior.

Related | Kenwood Towne Centre’s new curfew program goes into effect

Earlier this year, Colerain Township police announced they were implementing a 5 p.m. curfew for anyone under 18 at Northgate Mall after they said “we had several issues with groups of individuals engaging in fights and other criminal activity along Colerain Avenue. The vast majority of these individuals were kids dropped off at the movie theatre.

“Some watched movies, many did not. It was apparently the expectation of the parents that our community would provide free babysitting services while they were out enjoying their evening. One of our police officers was injured during this incident and we had mutual aid from four surrounding jurisdictions. Several arrests were made. This will not be permitted to continue.”

More | Northgate Mall is not a ‘free babysitting service,’ police say, new curfew implemented

Love said he thinks so many kids swarmed Northgate Mall simply because they knew they couldn’t go to Kenwood Towne Centre.

“There was a Facebook post and I do not know where it originated, but it said let’s all be at Northgate Mall. This was social media organized. This was not just random This was organized. They couldn’t go to Kenwood so they went to Northgate. Kenwood, you gotta give them credit, they were aggressive with it.”

"Northgate Mall cannot afford to let this happen again and we, as a police department, cannot afford to let this happen again. Businesses lost revenue.”

He responded “Good question” when we asked him where the parents were.

“If we had a curfew here and these are mostly junior high kids who can’t drive, how did they get there? How did 200 to 300 plus kids get there? Where are the parents in this situation? Why are the parents not paying attention to the curfew rules? We can expect the kids not to. They want to hang out. Why aren’t the parents paying attention to the rules?”

A new Facebook post is already circulating urging kids to return to the mall for another fight there soon, FOX19 NOW has learned.

Colerain Township police announced mid-morning Friday they plan to distribute a note to mall patrons this weekend which reads:

"The Colerain Police Department is committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience to all who visit the Township and patronize our local businesses. Unfortunately, we have recently encountered several individuals in the local business district whose conduct is neither conducive to that environment nor lawful. On more than one occasion, groups of individuals, mostly juveniles who have been dropped off at Northgate Mall or to attend movies at the XScape Theater, have gathered to loiter on the lot of Northgate Mall and become disruptive, intimidating, and have engaged in fights. Much of this conduct has escalated to the point of criminal activity to include Criminal Trespassing and Disorderly Conduct, requiring arrests during which resistance was encountered. This led to additional criminal charges being filed and a police officer being injured. This is completely unacceptable for something that is entirely preventable and which puts these groups, the remainder of the public, and responding police officers at risk for victimization or injury.

"This behavior will not be tolerated. The police department is focusing on solving this problem and has several officers assigned specifically to address the issue. We are providing the public service of first distributing this information and then providing additional dedicated police presence to the mall and surrounding business district. Those individuals who choose not to comply with the law will face arrest and prosecution.

"We are asking your assistance in providing a solution to this problem. Please help us keep your loved ones safe and also do not create a condition that places them in jeopardy of being arrested. We want everyone to have a good time and be safe while doing so. If you are dropping someone off at the Mall or Theater, please be aware of specific curfew and movie ending times. Please make a point to know the ending time of the movie and return promptly to pick up upon conclusion of the movie. Not returning to pick your loved ones up leaves them subject to being in violation of Trespassing laws simply by being on the Mall or Theater property after specified times and also leaves them vulnerable to becoming a potential crime victim. These groups are also not welcomed at nearby businesses and restaurants and could potentially face the same criminal consequences there.

PLEASE NOTE AND ABIDE BY THE FOLLOWING JUVENILE CURFEW TIMES:

Northgate Mall policy is that nobody under the age of 18 is permitted on the mall property without a parent AFTER 5:00 p.m. ON WEEKENDS AND DURING PERIODS OF SCHOOL BREAK This also includes the parking lot, parking garage, and outlot restaurants of McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Burger King, Longhorn, Kabuto, and Cheddars.

Colerain Township’s Juvenile Curfew law states in pertinent part that no person under the age of 18 is permitted in public without a parent accompanying them between the hours of midnight and 5:00 a.m. unless going to or from a school or church event, or their employment.

The applicable part of XScape Theater policy is on their website and states: In order to offer all of our guests the best movie going experience, no one 16 years of age or younger will be admitted to any showing beginning after 9:00 p.m. unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Legal Guardian is defined as 21 years of age or older. A Legal Guardian can only sponsor a maximum of 4 youth. If the movie finishes after 9:00 p.m. the youth, 16 or under, will have 20 minutes to leave the theatre premises after the movie ends."

Colerain Township Trustee-Elect Matthew Wahlert was at the mall Thursday night and said he watched as police cleared the mall out after the fight and closed it - as more vehicles kept pulling up and dropping off juveniles.

He told FOX19 NOW he talked with several kids and feels most are not from Colerain. He estimated about a quarter of the crowd was.

The rest were from places like Crestview Hills in Northern Kentucky, Western Hills and other jurisdictions, he said.

He said when he he asked them why they came all the way over to the mall, they they responded: “All my friends are here.”

In a statement to FOX19 NOW, Wahlert also said:

"At this point, nearly every news outlet has reported on the incident in and around the Northgate Mall area on the night of December 26, 2019. I happened to be in the general vicinity and felt it a duty to observe firsthand. I am so thankful to the adjoining police jurisdictions that responded to mutual aid calls, to the employees of Northgate Mall and nearby businesses, and to the Colerain Police Department.

My concern in such a rapidly developing situation is the potential for escalation. In the nearly three hours I spent on the scene, I observed a well-trained and efficient police department working in total coordination with other departments and the personnel of nearby businesses.

Northgate Mall has a curfew in order to avoid such instances. It appears that some coordination on social media may have resulted in a situation that resulted in groups of large numbers converging on the Mall simultaneously.

I have spoken to Chief Denney and Township Administrator Milz and a large police presence will be evident in the coming days. Please, come to Northgate Mall in order to shop and enjoy the Holiday Season. Colerain Township is a wonderful place with great people and that was on full display in the response last night.

On the other hand, if you plan on coming to Northgate Mall in order to cause trouble then please go elsewhere. If you want to come to our community in order to fight or disrupt, we do not want you in Northgate Mall or Colerain Township."

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