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Scuffles over new Jordan trainers

The release of Nike's new Air Jordan basketball shoes caused a frenzy at stores across the US as scuffles broke out and police were brought in to stamp out unrest that nearly turned into riots in some places.

Shoppers stood in long lines through the night to get their hands on a retro version of one of the most popular models of Air Jordans ever made. The fights were reminiscent of violence that broke out in the early 1990s on streets across America as the shoes became popular targets for thieves.

Disturbances were reported at shopping centres from Washington state to Georgia.

In suburban Seattle, police used pepper spray on about 20 customers who started fighting at the Westfield Southcentre mall.

The crowd started gathering at four stores in the mall at around midnight and had grown to more than 1,000 people by 4am, when the stores opened, Tukwila officer Mike Murphy said.

"Around three (am) there started to be some fighting and pushing among the customers," he said. "Around four, it started to get pretty unruly and officers sprayed pepper spray on a few people who were fighting, and that seemed to do the trick to break them up."

Mr Murphy said no injuries were reported, although some people suffered cuts or scrapes from fights. An 18-year-old man was arrested for assault after authorities say he punched an officer. "He did not get his shoes; he went to jail," Mr Murphy said. Shoppers also broke two doors.

In Richmond, California, police say crowds waiting to buy the Air Jordan 11 Retro Concords at the Hilltop Mall were turned away after a gunshot rang out at around 7am. No injuries were reported but police said a 24-year-old suspect was taken into custody. The gun apparently went off inadvertently, the Contra Costa Times reported.

The frenzy over Air Jordans - the new pair retails for about 180 US dollars (£115) - has been dangerous in the past. Some people were mugged or even killed for early versions of the shoe, created by Nike in 1985.

The Air Jordan has since been a consistent hit with trainer fans. A new edition was launched each year, and release dates had to be moved to the weekends at some points to keep children from skipping school to get a pair.


From Belfast Telegraph