EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (KPLR) – A brawl in a food stamp line was caught on camera, in video you first saw on FOX 2 Wednesday night. That original video has since been taken offline, but other versions have been appearing on YouTube since then. Now, East St. Louis police are taking action.
East St. Louis Police Chief Michael Floore says, “It’s kind of ridiculous to be fighting when you’re going to a facility that’s trying to help you, your children, and where you live.”
Floore didn’t realize the magnitude of the fight until he saw the video. That’s because it was all over by the time police got there. He explains, “Security has the power to detain anybody that’s fighting, make a citizen’s arrest and detain until the police got there. But security did not make any arrests.”
Now, it’s up to police to identify the women in the video. Floore wants victims of the fight to tell police, but thinks they’ll eventually be caught regardless. That’s because the women were at the Department of Human Services building because they need aid, so they’ll most likely be back.
Floore says, “That’s the only facility in East St. Louis, so they’ve got to come right back there, to register. And if they don’t come and register, now they don’t get their Link Card, or whatever they normally get.”
If and when they do come back, security guards have been instructed to detain the women they recognize. Then, the women could be charged with a federal offense, since the brawl took place in a government building. They could also lose their aid.
Sources say the fight was over a place in line, over a man, or both. One of the women almost used scissors as a weapon. That’s why East St. Louis officials say a metal detector should be installed in the building, before someone gets seriously injured.
Among East St. Louis residents, opinion on the attention-grabbing video is mixed. Amair Williams is glad the video could lead to more protection for residents: “They’re doing the best they can, I can say that, but we do need more security.”
However, Courtney White feels it simply makes the city look bad. He explains, “It’s a bad thing because you know, you’re talking about our city. You don’t want everybody thinking East St. Louis is a bad city, because it’s not.”
Brawl At Social Services Office Caught On Video