Friday, July 19, 2002

Fight at cinema prompts security

By David Eck,
Enquirer contributor

        SPRINGDALE — Extra security personnel will be on hand at Showcase Cinemas this weekend in response to a large fight that broke out at the theater Saturday, ending with one man's arrest.

        About 25 officers from area police agencies defused the fight involving about 20 people after the opening of Halloween: Resurrection. The fracas began just after midnight and was under control in 15 to 20 minutes, police said.

        There were no injuries, but an 18-year-old Springdale man was charged with taunting a police dog and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors.

        “This may be an isolated incident,” Springdale Police Capt. Bill Hafer said. “It had nothing to do with the movie.”

        The fight appeared to start as one group of people was leaving the theater at Ohio 4 and Crescentville Road as another group was entering, police said.

        “It's not gang-related,” Capt. Hafer said. “There were no guns. There were no knives.”

        Still, the incident prompted police and Showcase officials to meet and discuss security plans for this weekend, Capt. Hafer said. The number of hired off-duty police officers will be doubled to four and there will be additional queue lines in the lobby to keep the crowd orderly. Officers will be in the lobby and outside by the front doors. Showcase also uses its own security.

        “Our management team is working closely with the police to ensure that an incident like this does not occur again,” said Jennifer Hanson, director of corporate communications for National Amusements, which owns and operates Showcase.

        Police department administrators also will be at the cinema to assess the situation.


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