Ohio police use pepper spray on crowd lined up for Air Jordans

Reuters News
Posted: Dec 17, 2014 2:18 PM

By George Tanber

TOLEDO, Ohio (Reuters) - Police used pepper spray on Wednesday to disperse an unruly crowd of about 300 people lined up at a Toledo, Ohio, mall for an opportunity to buy Air Jordan sneakers.

People began lining up in front of Franklin Park Mall around 3:30 a.m. for tickets passed out by employees of Finish Line, a national shoe chain. The ticket allowed them to buy the Nike Air Jordan Retro 11 Legend Blue, which goes on sale for $200 on Saturday.

"It got pretty crazy," said Toledo police officer P. A. Tatum.

Police spokesman Sergeant Joe Heffernan said the pepper spray was used at about 5:45 a.m. after people knocked down barricades and several officers were knocked to the ground.

December sales of the latest Air Jordans, which are released in limited quantities, has perennially been a source of crowd-related problems at stores around the country.

During the weekend, nearly 50 law enforcement officers were called to a Houston mall after people waiting for their chance for a ticket to buy the shoes got rowdy, according to the KTRK television station, an ABC affiliate.

A representative of Nike was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by George Tanber in Toledo; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Bill Trott)