Over the weekend at NorthPark Center, a clerk in a sunglasses store contacted mall security guards, said a theft had occurred in the store and fingered the supposed thieves, according to the DMN. So the guards followed what NorthPark says is mall procedure and Texas law, apprehended and handcuffed those identified as culprits by the store clerk — and then found out the whole thing was a big mistake, or racial profiling, depending on whom you believe.

After the guard reviewed security footage and determined the teens hadn’t taken anything — and then the employee claimed not to recognize the teens — they were released with an apology from the mall, along with an explanation about what happened.

One of the teen’s fathers said the mall’s apology was all good and well, but he also demanded that the store clerk — and also the head of mall security — be fired, the News reports.

Two thoughts: One, it sounds like the clerk probably needs a new job (at least based on the info in the DMN report), but demanding the firing of the head of mall security seems extreme, if the guards were following procedure and if the clerk specifically identified the teens — based on that information, what else could the guards do but waylay the teens based on the eyewitness’ statement?

Two, I’ll bet that this event is a natural progression of what’s happening on weekend days and nights at NorthPark, where there are literally what appear to be hundreds of small groups of kids wandering around the mall almost any hour of the day. Most seem to be sans parents and/or responsible adults, and I would imagine that at least a few of them have sticky fingers, so it’s probably not a surprise that this type of incident occurs, and may well occur again.

Why a responsible parent would simply turn loose a bunch of teens (and in some cases, pre-teens) loose in a mall for hours on end with no real intent other than "hanging around" is beyond me. (I’m not talking about the specific teens in this story; just the general and growing "nuisance" of kids wandering in packs throughout the mall.)

The mall is not a playground, and as we’ve seen, the security guards clearly are not babysitters — at least not in the traditional sense.

 


WANT MORE?
Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.