Pepper spray, fights break out over Nike Air Jordan shoes

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Are Nike Air Jordan shoes, which retail for about $180 a pair, worth going to jail for?

Apparently some fans thought yes. On Friday, hordes of people lined up outside shoe stores across the country for the release of Nike’s retro Air Jordans, with fights breaking out and at least one incident in which cops pepper sprayed unruly shoppers.

In Los Angeles, shoe enthusiasts quickly cleaned out the stock at the All Pro Athletic Shoes store, said manager Shirley Yu.

‘We sold out in 10 minutes,’ Yu said. ‘We are a very small store and only got about 18 pairs. Those were gone in 10.’


Yu said that new Air Jordan styles always sold well, especially around the holidays. The store let a few loyal customers know beforehand that the shoes had come in stock.

Bouts of frenzy erupted around the nation.

In suburban Seattle, about 20 people at a mall were pepper sprayed by police after the crowd waiting to buy shoes swelled to more than 1,000 by 4 a.m., Tukwila officer Mike Murphy told the Associated Press.

‘Around 3 [a.m.] there started to be some fighting and pushing among the customers,’ Murphy said. ‘Around 4, it started to get pretty unruly and officers sprayed pepper spray on a few people who were fighting, and that seemed to do the trick to break them up.’

Murphy said one man was arrested for assault for allegedly pushing an officer. ‘He did not get his shoes; he went to jail,’ Murphy said.

Near Atlanta, a swarm of customers took down the door of a store that had not opened yet to get to the shoes, the AP said. Authorities arrested at least four shoppers and later arrested another woman who left two toddlers inside a car while hunting for the shoes.

Violence breaking out during holiday shopping is nothing new. Remember the woman who pepper sprayed her competition at a Wal-Mart store in Porter Ranch on Black Friday? Authorities called it a fit of ‘shopping rage.’


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-- Shan Li