New video of teen fights at Skateland in Mesa surfaces
MESA, Ariz. - On Thursday, FOX 10 has obtained new videos of teens fighting each other at a Mesa skating rink, and being held back by police.
FOX 10 first reported on the fights on Sunday, which happened at Skateland Mesa near Southern Avenue and Mesa Drive Saturday night. Officers called to the scene found disruptive behavior and fighting going on inside and outside the venue.
About 1,000 were said to be at the venue at the time. Police say hundreds of people were seen running from the area while multiple fights were going on. A total of five incidents were reported, three officers were assaulted, and six teenagers were arrested, all between the ages of 13 and 17.
At the time, Skateland released a statement to FOX 10 that says staff told a teenage girl she couldn't come back in after leaving the rink.
"All exits are final," read a portion of the statement. "This female did not like our policies, got unruly and tried to charge our staff member. At that point, it caused others to get unruly."
In a video provided by a witness at Skateland, a teenage girl is visibly angry. Her friend holds her back, and she still charges through police and staff.
Police officials, meanwhile, say a girl had her purse stolen and got into a fight with another girl. Then, three others also fought at the rink.
Anna Hanback says her kids saw it all go down, and she's not happy.
"I feel like there was just no structure, and it was just a bunch of kids just doing whatever they wanted to do," said Hanback.
Even with Mesa Police trying to handle the situation, the fights didn't stop.
"I’ve never seen it get that many kids into the building at once," said Hanback. "Typically, it’s your normal everyday party place."
Gabby McGill says she tried to keep her younger siblings out of harm's way, claiming there were only a few staff members, but many more people skating.
"On New Year's, about, I would say, about 200 to 300, and Saturday was over 1,000," said McGill.
Police confirm there were a thousand people at Skateland last Saturday night.
On Thursday, FOX 10 confirmed that police responded to the same venue just three days prior. Police officials say this isn't normal at all for Skateland as far as fights breaking out, but two times within a week is now leading to policy change.
With the changes, Skateland won't allow kids 17 and younger to enter without a parent unless they bring their own skates.
"We’ve met with Mesa Police this week to discuss the policy changes, and those were well received," read a portion of a statement from the General Manager of Skateland. "We are thankful for community support in understanding that these teen fights are not common at Skateland, and aren't an accurate depiction of our business."
“I’ll still let my kids go in the future, as long as they’re really changing and they wanted to do what’s best for the children and not for the business," said Hanback.
On Thursday, FOX 10's Justin Lum received e-mails from several loyal customers of Skateland, featuring testimonials on how much they love this place. FOX 10's report on the incident is focused on safety concerns, not how much fun it may be to go to the venue.