The security guard who became an internet sensation after posting videos of himself fighting crime at downtown’s Metro Mall was himself in the Fulton County Jail Friday.
Jail records show that Darien Long was arrested Thursday and charged with battery. Atlanta police arrested Long after he got into a scuffle with another person at the mall. He remained jailed on $2,000 bond early Friday. Long’s videos can be found on YouTube, and those clips could come in handy for Long, who said he’s being let go by the company that runs the tiny indoor shopping center near the Five Points MARTA station.
“The party line is that they can’t afford me,” said Long, 45, the onsite manager of the mall who became an Internet sensation and 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.
Long said that while he has received supporter from all over the world, including a fan group that raised more than $20K dollars, he does have critics. James Crooks said that he thinks Long’s style is over the top.
Despite his popularity with many fed up with crime, 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 AJC. “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, whose last day is March 30, said he doesn’t think he’ll be replaced. So what will happen to mall security? “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.”