Police called after hundreds of teenagers dropped off at Memphis mini-golf center, damage property

Mid-South

MEMPHIS (News Nation/WREG) — Police were called to a mini-golf center in Memphis Sunday after hundreds of teenagers were dropped off and began causing a disturbance and violating local coronavirus guidelines, according to a police report.

Putt Putt Fun Center said parents started dropping their children off Sunday evening and the crowd eventually grew to more than 300 people, according to the manager.

In a social media post made Monday, the company said things were okay until people started to jump the line for go-karts.

“While security and other team members tried to get the que 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.

That was around 7 p.m., three hours before scheduled closing time.

“I don’t really have an answer as to why we had the influx of kids that we did on Saturday,” general manager Aaron Bos told News Nation affiliate WREG. “Everything happened within the span of 10 minutes.”

The general manager says while the building was never at more than 50% capacity inside due to COVID-19, he was forced to close because they could no longer control outdoor crowds jumping lines and causing a disturbance.

Within several minutes, there was a “verbal confrontation” between several individuals that had to be broken up by security and staff members. That’s when the decision to close down for the night was made.

The company said they were about to start issuing refunds when a group “started screaming and yelling about their refund. To protect the staff and other guest, it was announced no refunds at this time.”

The result was caught on video.

In the video, a girl who appears to be a teenager can be seen tearing apart a plexiglass divider. She then throws the divider along with metal rope stands across a counter, where employees are standing.

Moments later, the young girl was seen spitting at another worker.

The father of the 12-year-old girl caught on video says there’s more to the story than what people have seen on social media.

“It started somewhere,” Jerald Jones said. “It didn’t just all of a sudden go to, ‘I’m going to go up there and disrespect these folks.’ My kids don’t get down like that.”

Jones said he dropped his daughter off to meet with friends but stayed nearby. About an hour later he says he received a frantic call from her that she was told to leave.

The girl’s father says the money wasn’t the only issue. He claims an employee escalated the situation.

“The other guy saying, ‘Get out, get out’ spit on her out his mouth. That’s when she spit back, which is what everybody else seen. They didn’t see the part where he spit,” Jones said.

Bos said the only people put in harm’s way were his employees.

“I’m trying to restore order and ensure the safety of my staff which was my only concern at that time,” he said.

No injuries were reported. A 13-year-old boy was issued a juvenile summons for disorderly conduct.

As a result of this, there are several new policies at the Putt-Putt. All minors must have a parent or guardian with them, there will now be additional security and they will be open limited hours now.

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