Darien Long, the Atlanta mall cop who drew international praise for his YouTube videos which showed him tasering unruly patrons, was pink-slipped and arrested for battery this week, MyFoxAtlanta reports.
Long was cuffed Thursday after he allegedly tackled a Metro Mall patron. Long claimed that he warmed the patron he was not welcome on mall property. But the Atlanta Police Department claims Long did not provide enough evidence justifying the physical force he used against the patron.
“The video from inside the mall clearly shows Mr. Long run up to this person from the side and tackle him to the ground,” Atlanta police spokeswoman Kim Jones said. “Mr. Long could not produce any documentation to back up his claim that the victim had been given a trespass warning and the video depicts Mr. Long acting as the primary aggressor.”
He was charged with battery and transported to Fulton County Jail. He appeared before a judge on Friday and was granted a $2,000 bond; he is scheduled to appear in court again April 4.
This week, Long was let go from his position as mall manager. He told the Huffington Post in a phone interview that the official reason he was let go was because of declining revenues at the mall. However, he believes there were “political reasons” behind the loss of his job.”
Long claimed that his videos, which he filmed with a GoPro camera strapped to a bullet proof vest, made the Atlanta police look bad.
“If they get rid of me, the videos stop coming out of that area,” Long told HuffPost.
Earlier this year, Long became the beneficiary of a $23,000 crowd-sourced fundraising campaign organized by members of the Reddit social news community after one of his videos went viral. The drive was intended to provide him with the means to buy better gear. As property manager, Long carried a Taser stun gun, firearms and handcuffs on the job.
He had been recording his encounters with unruly mall costumers for over a year, but video of this confrontation put him on the map earlier this year.
Long’s last day of work at Metro Mall is reportedly on March 31.
Long told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the criminal element that he worked so hard to rid the mall of will return soon after he leaves.
“In two weeks, it’ll be back to what it was when I got here: (expletive) crazy!” he said. “The drug dealers will be back, the prostitutes will be back …”
And as far as another gig in security, the 45-year-old says it won’t be easy.
“I think it’s going to be tough for me to get another job in this field,” he said. “We’ll see.”