The security guard who became an internet sensation after posting videos of himself fighting crime at downtown’s Metro Mall was arrested late Thursday afternoon and charged with battery.
Atlanta police officers were called to the mall near the Five Points MARTA station after Darien Long, 45, allegedly tackled a patron to the ground unprovoked.
APD spokeswoman Kim Jones said Long told officers the man had been warned to stay away.
“The video from inside the mall clearly shows Mr. Long run up to this person from the side and tackle him to the ground,” 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.”
Long remained in Fulton County jail on a $2,000 bond early Friday.
It’s been a tough week for the vigilante guard, who, before his arrest, learned he was fired, effective at month’s end.
“The party line is that they can’t afford me,” said Long, the onsite manager of the mall who became a hero to many for his no-nonsense approach to dealing with criminals. “But it’s not like I make much money.”
Long’s tactics captured national attention when a lapel-cam video showing him tasing a woman who had verbally and physically attacked him was posted Jan. 28 on Wordstarhiphop.com. It’s since garnered nearly 2 million views.
An online drive to raise money to buy him better equipment followed, with pledges topping $20,000.
Long said he wonders if his aggressiveness led to the loss of his job.
“Some of these vendors want me gone,” said Long, noting two recent raids on vendors selling trademarked or stolen merchandise. “They’re happy they got rid of the guy with the camera.”
But Long will be missed by merchants including Francisca Shokane, who owns a hair salon in the mall.
“Before they hired Darien, they used to rob our customers and snatch pursues,” Shokane told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Now it is much better and safer. They don’t come in here and bother us anymore.”
Metro Mall management could not be reached for comment.
On his Facebook page, some applauded Long’s dismissal — “Guess you got just what you asked for,” said one commenter — though the majority bemoaned the news.
Long said he doesn’t think he’ll be replaced, leaving the mini-mall with no security personnel.
“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 …”
As for his own future, Long is circumspect.
“I think it’s going to be tough for me to get another job in this field,” he said. “We’ll see.”