Easter bunny, father charged after brawl at the mall
(CNN) — A mall Easter Bunny in New Jersey was punching instead of posing Sunday evening after a fight broke out with the father of a child getting her picture taken with the costumed bunny man, Jersey City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill tells CNN.
Jersey City police responded to the Newport Centre Mall Sunday night after reports of a fight between the costumed bunny man and the father.
The fight started after a 1-year-old girl slipped off the bunny’s lap after her photo, the bunny man told police.
In a video posted on Twitter, the Easter Bunny can be seen tearing off his thick, white gloves and fighting the father. Dozens of mallgoers can be seen surrounding the brawling duo, with some in the crowd participating in the fight as security guards attempt to calm the situation.
Following the incident, both men were taken to Jersey City Medical Centre-Barnabas Health with minor injuries, Morrill said.
The Newport Centre Mall had no comment, referring CNN to the company it contracted for the Easter Bunny, The Noerr Programs.
“The safety of guests and cast members is of utmost importance to the Noerr Programs, which operates and manages the Easter Bunny photo program,” a statement from Noerr said. “We will continue to investigate this incident and take appropriate action. In the meantime, we are cooperating with the Jersey City Police Department who are leading this investigation and have assigned other employees to fill the role of Bunny.”
Morrill identified the two men as Kassim Charles, 22, dressed as the Easter Bunny, and Juan Jimenez-Guerrero, 44, father of the child.
Both Charles and Jimenez-Guerrero were being charged with aggravated assault and disorderly conduct, Morrill told CNN.
Both men also had outstanding warrants on unrelated charges, including a warrant on Charles for “fare hopping,” according to Morrill.
CNN could not determine Monday whether either man was being represented by an attorney.