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FACT CHECK: Police Didn’t Arrest Brawlers Because They’re White

False: Kentucky Police Fail To Take Action Against White Brawlers

Did thousands of brawlers walk free because of their race? Reverb Press examines a viral claim that began circulating in December of 2016.

Beginning in December, a post from the website Real Cool Video began circulating the liberal web. With a headline like How Many Arrests When 2000 White People Fight at a Mall? ZERO! Black People Are UPSET at the ‘Double Standard it’s easy to see why. Racially charged incidents involving excessive use of force by police are the soup du jour for perpetually outraged progressives.

Alas, the headline is misleading. According to police, the brawlers were a “mixture” of races, mostly between the ages of 15 and 19 years old. No serious injuries were reported, and ultimately no arrests were made—a decision police maintain was an effort to deescalate the situation. As the under-reported incident happened a whole year before Real Cool Video‘s post went viral, it’s unlikely the headline’s second component (“Black People Are UPSET at the ‘Double Standard'”) had any merit at the time of publication.

Here’s an excerpt from the viral post, which we’ll compare to police statements provided by Snopes below:

Kentucky’s St. Matthews Mall in Kentucky, Texas was in complete CHAOS and had to been SHUT DOWN as over 2,000 white teens and young adults took part in a HORRIFIC brawl just DAYS after the festive period! The seemingly small argument between two parties ranging in age from 13 to early 20s suddenly turned into a MASS MOB!

Youths were abusing staff and preventing owners closing their stores for their own safety. It took authorities TWO HOURS to get the situation under control with one officer claiming it was the “worst scene he had witnessed in 33 years of being a police man” Despite the reports of violence and abuse there have been NO ARRESTS made.

One clue that the author’s claims may be exaggerated is the obnoxious use of all-caps for emphasis. There are no major style guides currently in use wherein random words are capitalized for emphasis. Therefore, it is usually indicative of a single author working independently of an editorial staff, the equivalent of a Facebook or YouTube comment in terms of credibility. While this doesn’t necessarily mean the information presented therein is inaccurate, it should at best be viewed as a simple launching point for further research.

Major David Beyer, assistant police chief, told Snopes:

It was a group of primarily young people in their late teens and early twenties, running through the mall and creating disturbances. We went in and tried to move the kids off the mall property and on to buses and back home to where they belonged.

Asked about the racial makeup of the brawling teens, he said “it was a mixture of people.”

“When black people are getting killed selling loose cigarettes and playing with toy guns”, asks the author, in a bolded addendum at the end of the article. “Is this another case of white privilege?”

No. Just another hoax story diluting the impact of real-world issues and events. While Snopes concluded that Real Cool Video‘s claims were unproven, we’re going to take the extra step and call the story false. Claims require evidence, which Real Cool Video failed to provide—it’s clear to us that this is a case of spinning a news story way out of control.

Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images H/T: Snopes contributor Bethania Palma.

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Timothy Bertrand is an author and journalist from Houston, Texas. He is the Associate Editor at Reverb Press and splits his time between covering breaking news and penning thoughtful literary essays.