Parents of three teenage girls in Thomson want justice after they say their kids were attacked by two adults at a movie theater. The Thomson Police Department arrested and charged a man and a women in the incident.
The parents of the kids, however, say disorderly conduct is not a severe enough charge for what their children experienced.
On Saturday, April 20, three friends went to see Pet Sematary in Thomson. During that film, the teens told NewsChannel 6 two adults reported that some kids snuck their friends inside the theater without paying. Management looked into the situation and left, according to the teens. But after the movie ended, the teens said those adults took matters into their own hands.
The parents of those teens shared videos taken by other children during parts of the incident.
In the video, you can see a woman talking.
“We have to respect each other,” she said adding that there should be no phones in the movie theater. Then she accused the teens of letting their friends inside.
“You opened the door. I saw you open the exit door,” she said.
The cell phone video captures a group of girls and who appears to be Larry and Antonia Rader talking to the teens about who opened the exit door inside the movie theater.
Although the person recording the video is laughing, a very serious argument ensues between the kids and the adults. And then one bystander captures some harsh words.
“What you mean?” the kids said.
“Hush! Hush! You hush! You’re a bunch of monkeys. You’re going to end up on the streets doing drugs,” the woman who appears to be Rader said.
It’s unclear what happens after that statement, but April 20 at the theater is very clear to the three girls and one mother arriving to pick up the crew who witnessed the unthinkable.
Sharell Yarbert said as she drove up and saw the altercation, she hopped out of the car, “As I was running towards her I see the gentleman hit my daughter.”
Yarbert said her 14-year-old, Tocara Darden texted her 15 minutes prior to the show ending like she always does. But when she pulled up it was chaos and she got right in the middle of it to protect her child.
Darden told us the couple came towards them very aggressively.
“Right here on my face,” she pointed where she said she was hit by 78-year-old Larry Rader . “It was swollen that morning, but it went down.”
The Raders were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. But Larry Rader told us they were actually the ones physically hurt.
“One of the larger, older teenage girls ran and knocked my wife over. Ran over her, pushed her down. And I bent over to try to protect her and as I was doing that, protect her from being kicked and all that, as I got up one of them, either the same or another one knocked me down,” he said.
Kamiskia Few said her daughter, 14-year-old Makiyah Burnette, was sent to the hospital with a contusion to the eye after she said she was hit by 63-year-old Antonia Rader.
Few told us, “You harassed these kids. You followed these kids. You put your hands on these kids. It would be a different story if it was two grown people.”
But Rader contends they were not the aggressors and told us there were a bunch of black kids inside and outside of the theater.
“She hit my wife so hard she knocked her down then she came back and hit me so hard she knocked me down. She didn’t hit me with a fist, it was with her body. It was like a football move,” Larry Rader said.
“They called them monkeys and say they’re going to grow up to be drug dealers and crack heads. Who talks like that? I feel like it should be some type of hate crime,” Yarbert said.
Larry Rader said it was pretty lound, but he does not recall his wife using those words.
“If my wife said anything like that I’m not going to get on her about it. I’m just going to go along with that. It sounds like that could have infuriated them and made them more aggressive.”
Shanta Bly said she too wants more than just a disorderly conduct on the Radar’s record.
“If I whoop one of my kids in public I would go to jail for child abuse or negligence or whatever the case may be,” she said.
Bly’s 13-year-old daughter, Marocah Murray, and her friends said they were not the kids who let others inside that exit door, yet they were harmed in the aftermath, both physically and emotionally.
“All the students at school keep asking us why we let white people hit us in our face,” Murray said adding that they were not the group who let someone inside the exit door.
Burnette, who had a bruise under her eye that could still be seen days later added,
“Surprised that an older couple would really try to fight us and we’re so young and didn’t say anything to them or start with them and wasn’t disrespectful or nothing.”
When asked how the incident made her feel, Darden said, “I felt like they were being racist. I didn’t really care about that part because I know who I am.”
The parents, who added their children all make good grades and play sports, said they think the couple should face stiffer charges, including a hate crime.
Rader said unbeknown to him, his wife left the movie to report to management that kids were letting other kids inside the theater. He said once outside, his wife only told the teens they needed discipline.
The case will go to court June 11.
Photojournalist: Gary Hipps