A woman visiting from Switzerland showed no neutrality about her desire to get into the Steve Madden shoe store at Sawgrass Mills mall. And she used a bottle of water to emphasize her desire.
That set off a mall fight at the Sunrise shopping complex that didn’t reach full mall brawl status of some other incidents around the nation this week, but didn’t lack hot emotions.
Video by WINZ 940-AM sports talk radio host Andy Slater shows the confrontation between Swiss tourist Pascale Pauly, Steve Madden store manager Yesenia Ruiz and store employee Giovanni Aponte around 5:45 p.m. Wednesday.
Ruiz told Sunrise police she shut the store’s doors because it was at capacity level. Others said the store closed for a short time to allow staff to clean up the carnage from bargain-hunting holiday crowds. Either way, one customer remained in the store.
Meanwhile, the Sunrise police report says, Pauly accompanied banging on the glass doors with demands of a wait time before re-entry.
After Aponte opened the door to let the last customer out, Slater’s video picks up Pauly standing in the doorway, demanding answers from him. Aponte asks her to back out of the doorway.
“I’ll explain it to you when you back away from my face,” Aponte says.
When Pauly refuses, he asks again while pushing with the back of his left hand on her right shoulder.
“Don’t push! Don’t push!” Pauly says.
Still standing so the door couldn’t close, Pauly asks Aponte what’s happening. Someone off camera says they’ve been waiting 35 minutes (Was it the 70 percent off table of shoes? The $29.99 table?).
“Answer me!” Pauly demands while refusing to move so Aponte can close the door. He tells her he’ll call the authorities.
I ... don’t ... care! I know my rights!” she replies.
Ruiz walks up behind Aponte, holding a phone in her right hand with her left hand in the palms-forward, “halt” position but only waist high. According to the Sunrise police report, Ruiz was calling them.
The video shows Pauly reaches behind Aponte to Ruiz’s left arm. The report says Pauly poked Ruiz in the left shoulder, then pinched her.
Whatever happened, it’s on.
The women briefly fling arms at each other across Aponte. Ruiz connects with a light slap while Pauly uses her reach to empty a bottle of Evian on Ruiz. Pauly starts to walk away, then pivots back right into Ruiz’s overhand right to the head that rocked Pauly back a few steps.
Pauly recovers, approaches again and is hit again before co-workers pull Ruiz back.
Sunrise police said it was a case of simple battery on both counts -- Pauly as the aggressor with the poke and pinch, then Ruiz the aggressor when she came out of the store to go upside Pauly’s head. Neither woman is pressing charges. Pauly was issued a trespass warning for the Steve Madden store and escorted away.
In a statement, the Steve Madden company is investigating the incident.
“Steve Madden is committed to a culture of mutual respect, and we are in the process of thoroughly investigating the events that led to this unfortunate incident. We look forward to providing updates once we have completed our investigation.”