The Tennessee Equality Project is reporting that a woman, Akasha Adonis, was assaulted during a fight at a Kohl's in Jackson, Tennessee, before the store opened on the day after Thanksgiving. She lost three teeth and her jaw was broken. When police showed up and saw that the gender of the name on her ID didn't match her appearance, they got rude and dismissive. She's stuck with $6000 in medical bills.
The TEP has a more detailed report. The details about what started the scuffle are unclear (and without everyone's side of the story available it makes sense not to try the assailant in the press considering there are already conflicting narratives about what started the fight), but the police department's actions seem fairly clear. They didn't consider Adonis's injury serious even though she lost three teeth and had to go to the hospital, the officer's report omitted a witness's statement, the police haven't even asked Kohl's yet for the video surveillance tape, and they haven't done anything to find the assailant.
To literally add insult to injury, the police report misgendered Adonis and a Kohl's employee referred to her as "he/she/it" on Facebook.
Honestly I think it's too easy for the first part of this story, the assault(s), to be written off as just Black Friday craziness, people getting too excited about savings and that excitement turning ugly.
It's hard to imagine what they were getting so excited about at Kohl's, and how that excitement and greed could turn violent. Adonis and the others in the dispute weren't waiting in line for free stuff or great stuff. They were waiting there to pay slightly lower prices on already overpriced stuff in a store that changes prices and "sales" often enough to keep people confused about what everything is really worth.
Not only are the people waiting in a state of either confusion or misinformation, they place enough value on the act of consumption that they get greedy for the ability to shop more. It's something more than greed that makes people fight to give someone else their money.
I'm not reproaching the people involved for showing up early to buy stuff or for going to those sorts of stores. In fact, I was actually at a Kohl's when it opened on Black Friday too, but was then reminded that the store is already seriously overpriced for what it is and left without anything, and ended up waiting in line at Best Buy. So while I have almost eliminated the amount of time I spend in chain stores other than my local grocery store, I'm not too far away from this myself.
But where's the reminder to people that they're just waiting there to save a few dollars? I don't think people are as shitty as they get portrayed every Black Friday and most people remember their humanity and not to take it all that seriously. But the environment has been created to promote greed and confusion, when combined with excitement and anxiety, can produce bad behavior.
So, yeah, I hope Adonis sues the police (she's already filed a complaint), but Kohl's can't be let off the hook either. While these sorts of stores have been adding security agents right and left, no one showed up to break up this fight. They didn't call an ambulance either, and when the story started being discussed one of their employees responded with transphobia. Most importantly, through complex, sophisticated, and well-researched techniques, the manipulated people to behave the way they did in the first place. If corporations want that kind of power they should at least be held responsible for when their little mind games turn ugly.
And, of course, they should find the alleged assailant(s). But it's unlikely that they'll get them now, this long after the fact, especially considering that getting the police to care at all about this crime has been like pulling teeth.