MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings spoke out Tuesday about large teen disturbances at two malls last week, saying malls need to make sure they are taking care of security and parents need to keep a better eye on their kids.
"The mall has an incredible responsibility to make sure they have the proper practices in place," said Rallings.
Tuesday, police revealed what really happened last week.
At Wolfchase Galleria, two groups were throwing gang signs. Memphis police officers working side-jobs for the mall escorted them out, but the mall is so large they could get back inside. The noise of a falling chair, mistaken for a gunshot, later sparked the mayhem.
At Oak Court Mall, teens running through the mall took jewelry, broke a kiosk, and actually damaged the mall in some places.
MPD said the teens were dropped off at both malls, left unsupervised, and security was lacking.
"They had very few security officers assigned to these malls, but they'd called them all in," said Deputy Chief Terry Landrum.
Rallings said the malls are private property and bear responsibility for having adequate security. MPD will be meeting with mall management in the coming days.
They'll also be discussing a juvenile escort policy, but malls have the final say.
"Law enforcement's job is not to raise your children. I'm gonna say that again. It is not our job to raise your children. That is your job," said Rallings.
Rallings points out this is a lesson for parents and teens. The mayhem was spurred on by social media.
He said teens should know not to participate, and parents should know what their kids are up to.
"I want parents to make sure that if they're gonna be in the business of having children that they're in the business of making sure that they're responsible parents," he said.
WMC Action News 5 reached out to both malls with questions about any changes in mall security. A spokesperson for Wolfchase Galleria did not return our inquiry. A spokesperson for Oak Court Mall said the facility would not comment.