A viral video showing a fight in a mall parking lot was the latest indication that Georgia may have reopened its businesses a bit prematurely while the state deals with and tried to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Eagle-eyed social media sleuths quickly identified the location of the fight as being Cumberland Mall in Atlanta.
The 17-second video, which was lacking a lot of context, opens with three women grappling with each other while an apparent mall security guard tries to break up the fight taking place in the parking lot. Only the security guard was wearing a mask as all four of them were clearly not observing social distancing guidelines, which are still in effect in the state despite a push to return to normalcy. As the security guard pushes two of the women wrestling to the ground, the third woman, still standing reaches down to pull a bag away and gets in a couple of punches, too. That’s when a man literally leaps into the frame and kicks the woman who was standing down to the ground, pushes the security guard over and helps up one of the women wrestling on the ground before they both flee. No one chased after them, and that’s where the video ends. Everybody involved except the security guard appeared to be Black, the main group that has been disproportionately affected by the coronavirus.
Watch the video below.
It was unclear who was recording the footage, but the video had more than 35,000 likes and more than 9 thousand retweets as of early Wednesday morning.
Cumberland Mall, which only reopened on Tuesday, has been the center of previous violent episodes, including a shooting over a dispute in the food court in December. Theoretically, officials should have prepared for some semblance of violence at the mall when they planned to reopen it.
The violence shown on the video was not one of the fears health officials had over Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp moved to reopen the state, but now that possibility cannot be discounted as businesses continue to start back up following about two months of being closed over COVID-19 concerns.
When cultural critic David Dennis, Jr. predicted that Kemp was “going to get people killed” by reopening state businesses, he may not have had a mall fight in mind. But he was spot on about the implications behind what he called “a calculated, deliberate act of violence that Georgia’s governor admitted will only exacerbate the COVID-19 crisis.”
This is America.