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Thursday, May 8, 2014

'Kick ass mall cop' Darien Long back at downtown Metro Mall

After his 2013 arrest for assault, Darien Long is laying down the law again
  • After his 2013 arrest for assault, Darien Long is laying down the law again
Now that Creative Loafing's office is smack dab in the heart of south Downtown, the infamous Metro Mall is literally a block away. In fact, from our window we enjoy a hawk-eye view of the flea market's front entrance - and its patrons' comings and goings - along with its characters. And one in particular that went missing in action has since returned.

Indeed, vigilante mall cop Darien Long is back as onsite manager of Metro Mall.

After co-workers Max Blau and Thomas Wheatley tipped me off to his presence, I caught up with him yesterday on Peachtree St. It looked like a regular day in front of Metro Mall. The legit shoppers mixed in with the illegitimate dealers. It was unseasonably hot, even for Atlanta. And Long was strapped with two Taser guns, his trusty video camera attached to the vest covering his chest. Though he declined to be interviewed because ownership doesn't want any media attention, it hasn't kept him from uploading to YouTube approximately three to six videos each day he works. As you might recall, it was Long's own footage of him tasering unruly, and/or provoked, patrons that went viral and garnered national media attention. Today he calls his YouTube channel GRSE!, which stands for "the Greatest Reality Show Ever!" And the titles are as colorful as the content: "Crackhead on Broad," "Superhero @$$ Ni##A vs. Clown @$$ Ni##A," "Tryin to play me like Willie Lump Lump," etc.

He's actually been back for several months after being fired last year, and he told me he hasn't had to taser anyone yet. Perhaps this is a kinder, gentler Long, following his arrest for assaulting a mall patron a year ago? His return hasn't been without incident however. In the video below, titled "I QUIT," he talks about his decision to do just that last month after a tenant failed to abide by his rules and ownership didn't back him up:



They've apparently put that kerfuffle behind them since he's back now. His return couldn't be more timely, especially considering this week's CL cover story, "The changing face of downtown Atlanta." In it, staff news writer Max Blau writes about the impending transformation that could bring more change (Atlanta street car, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, College Football Hall of Fame) to the area this year than we've seen since the 1996 Olympics. Except for the fact that the neighborhood still lacks bare essentials like a grocery store. Meanwhile, Darien Long's presence is still viewed by many as a basic necessity.

On that note, here's a year-end piece "20/20" aired on Long's solo crusade last December in which many residents and workers in the area voice their support:


ABC US News | ABC Business News

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