RIALTO – Over a dozen police officers swarmed a department store last week when shoppers broke out in fights over merchandise and over waiting in long lines during a Black Friday opening on Thanksgiving day.
A Walmart superstore, located on Riverside Ave., had security in place, but police units were called after an officer was injured in an attempt to break up a fight on Thanksgiving that broke out when one man reportedly cut in front of another man in line.
The injured officer, who suffered a broken wrist during the exchange, was taken to St. Bernardine Medical Center in nearby San Bernardino, where he was treated and released late Thursday night, according to a report.
Police said fighting began after 7 p.m. and that there were more than 5,000 people waiting in line. Store managers decided to open before the originally scheduled 8 p.m. time. There were three fights, said police, including one outside the store and two more inside.
Raymond Leonard Rice, 25, of San Bernardino, and Chennel Coleman Smith, 31, of Fontana, were arrested followinr the confrontation outside the store. In a police statement, it was reported that a victim and his friend were confronted in the parking lot by Smith and Rice. Rice, who is reportedly on parole, jumped from the car they were in and began assaulting the two friends.
Inside the store, a man and woman were fighting over a flat screen TV, said police.
Police arrested everyone involved in the fights, including one man arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly kicking a man in the head, and another arrested for felony assault on a peace officer.
Wristbands were issued to 3,500 customers to shop while others waited outside.
Colton police and a San Bernardino County sheriff’s helicopter assisted Rialto police. Two uniformed officers were assigned outside the store in case anything broke out, said police, adding that Walmart hired additional security for the Black Friday event.
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