Vestavia Hills police increase presence as ‘Joker’ hits theaters

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VESTAVIA HILLS, Ala., (WIAT) — The new R-rated comic book film “Joker” made its premiere Thursday night.

The FBI is looking into online posts by extremists about the movie amid warnings over potential shootings at film screenings. However, the AMC theater in Vestavia Hills isn’t taking any risks.

“That’s concerning because we don’t know whats going to happen,” said. Capt. John Evans of the Vestavia Police Department.

Evans said while there are no credible threats in the area, the department will maintain visibility around the AMC movie theaters throughout the weekend.

“We will have an officer assigned there, for this weekend and then we will have extra patrols that will go by there,” Evans said.

Police in Aurora, Colorado have said “Joker,” starring Joaquin Phoenix as the “Clown Prince of Crime” in the Batman comics and movies, will not be shown at the theater. In 2012, there was a mass shooting at one Aurora theater during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” where 12 people were killed.

“We’re all dealing, including my family, with PTSD,” said Tina Coon, whose son Tanner died in the Aurora shooting, during an interview.

Despite the fear some may have, CBS 42 had no trouble finding people eager to see the film and while fans don’t blame movies for tragedy, they blame the people who cause it.

Meanwhile, AMC Vestavia theater has their own safety policies in place for movie goers, while Capt. Evans said his department will be on the look out for anything suspicous, specifically those dressed up in suspicious attire.

“We will be there to observe and look out for any suspicious activity we feel is going on,” Evans said.

There has been a military alert issued stating “Identify two escape routes” in theaters and “Run, Hide, Fight” if in an active shooting situation. Vestaiva police also remind the public who want to wear costumes to remember the theater’s costume policy, which includes no masks, face paint or weapons.


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