Memphis, Tennessee, has had both peaceful protests and others that turned into violent riots over the past few months, and it is no wonder that now teenagers are beginning to spiral out of control. How much have they been influenced by what they have seen in the media, or indeed witnessed on the streets?
Judging by the behavior of some in the crowd of 300 to 400 teenagers at the Putt-Putt Fun Center in Memphis on Saturday evening, July 25, they are expert learners.
The problems began when management became overwhelmed by the number of teenagers, many dropped off at the center for a bit of fun by well-meaning parents, who in hindsight, should have remained to supervise.
Restrictions were in place on numbers due to the pandemic, and the huge crowd was in violation of the restrictions when some teenagers refused to wait in the line-up for go-karts and began pushing in.
“While security and other team members tried to get the queue line in order, the decision was made to suspend ticket sales in an effort to be sure everyone got their appropriate number of rides,” the business said, reported WREG TV.
Verbal disagreements broke out in the group, and security and staff members had to intervene.
Management had no option but to close, and that’s when the trouble began. The group “started screaming and yelling about their refund. To protect the staff and other guests, it was announced no refunds at this time.”
In the video of the ensuing riot, filmed by a concerned bystander, one young girl can be seen destroying the counter and anything else she could get her hands on, including hurling furniture at terrified staff who tried to hide. According to WREG-TV, the girl began spitting at one of the staff. After later attempts by management to contact the main perpetrator to get her side of the story, she didn’t reply.
Welcome to the Putt-Putt Fun Center in Memphis Tennessee. Gee, what ever do you think these teenagers may have watched on TV or online that would convince them that it’s OK to act this way? pic.twitter.com/2ecTNyUyvA
— KC O’Dea Program (@KCOnTheRadio) July 27, 2020
The center’s general manager, Aaron Boss, said in a statement to WREG that the incident was something the company has “never experienced in 57 years of business,” reported The Blaze.
In a statement to WREG, Boss said, “Unfortunately, yesterday evening we had an incident that we have never experienced in 57 years of business. Parents chose to leave large groups of teenagers at our facility without their supervision.
“Some of those people chose to create a disturbance the likes of which we have never seen. We are very thankful that none of our Golf and Games family or customers were injured during this situation.
“We are actively trying to identify those involved and hold them accountable for their actions.
“Going forward, any minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Anyone that is left unattended will be asked to leave.
“We have been the Memphis area’s locally owned place for family entertainment for nearly six decades. We will always welcome those who choose to share their family experiences with us. Please understand this is not a reflection of us or our park. We look forward to serving you soon.”
The Putt-Putt center opened for business a day later, and to date, there has only been one juvenile summons issued to a 13-year-old boy. Management said it was giving refunds to those who requested them and advised parents that their children must not be left unsupervised.