New Jersey mall’s Easter Bunny brawls with upset parent

A man employed as the Easter Bunny at a New Jersey mall brawled with a father whose child slipped to the floor while having a picture taken with the costumed character, authorities said on Monday, stunning shoppers watching the mayhem unfold.

Jersey City Police were investigating possible charges against the 22-year-old man playing the Easter Bunny at Newport Centre Mall and the father of the 1-year-old girl, said city spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill.

After the child slid out of the photo-op chair on Sunday afternoon, the father began to verbally and physically attack the bunny, the costumed cottontail told police.

“A fight ensued between both the father and the Easter Bunny,” Morrill said in an email, and both were taken to the Jersey City Medical Center-Barnabas Health with minor injuries.

As rabbits go, the mall’s Easter Bunny looked more like Harvey, the towering 6-footer who befriended by Jimmy Stewart in the 1950 movie classic, than little Peter Cottontail.

Video posted online after the incident shows a hulking character wearing a white fuzzy suit and a royal blue top coat and tails throwing punches before being separated from the other man by mall goers.

Suddenly he stalks back toward the man, rips off the fuzzy gloves and starts swinging, the video shows. He is soon brought to the ground by customers and security officers at the mall, located across the Hudson River from lower Manhattan.

“No charges have been filed at this time as detectives are continuing to investigate and speak with witnesses as it remains unclear who initiated the incident,” Morrill said.

The spokeswoman did not say whether the parent had offered a different version of events, adding that no more information was immediately available.

(Editing by Frank McGurty and Marguerita Choy)

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