Social media claims of plans to loot malls and a shopping center in Buckhead May 28 briefly had police on alert, but a supposed 2 p.m. start time passed without incident. One of the most widely cited Twitter accounts later said the call was a prank.
The claims called for looting of the Phipps Plaza mall and the Lenox Marketplace shopping center, with many discussing Lenox Square mall as well. The discussions and claims had “Lenox” trending on Twitter.
The claims appeared to play off looting occurring in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Floyd was a black man who died after a white police officer kept a knee on his neck for a lengthy period despite pleas from Floyd and bystanders that the action was killing him. The looting of a Target store there featured prominently in coverage of protests, and the local claims mentioned a Target in Lenox Marketplace.
“We picked up on some online threats against Lenox, Phipps and Target that were supposedly planned for 2 p.m.,” said Atlanta Police Department spokesperson Carlos Campos in an email. “We put additional resources in the area and also asked that our officers report any abnormal gatherings in any of the zones. Thankfully, nothing materialized.”
Asked about the possibility of charges against anyone for issuing the calls for looting, Campos said, “We are most definitely looking into these threats.”
Update: This story has been updated with further comment from the Atlanta Police Department.