NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Tough new restrictions were issued at the Kings Plaza shopping center in Brooklyn this week, after mayhem broke out earlier this week.
As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported, cellphone video captured the brawl at the mall in Mill Basin, Brooklyn, involving a flash mob of as many as 300 teenagers. Many of the teens were just 15 and 16 years old.
The melee began a short time before the mall, at Avenue U and Flatbush Avenue, closed for the night at 9 p.m. Thursday. The cellphone video showed a group of 300 young people charging through the shopping center as police and mall security tried to get them to leave.
Breeanah Thomas, 15, said she was part of the group who showed up Thursday after finding out about the gathering on social media.
“They had pepper spray. We attacked them because they attacked us,” she said. “They thought they were going to run us out, but they didn’t run me out.”
The owner of one kiosk said the melee damaged some of his items.
“Take the jar and broke the one jar, like $50 damage candy and the jar. It’s like almost $100 damage for me,” one candy kiosk owner said.
The disturbance prompted some store managers to close early, as police and mall security were quickly posted inside all the mall’s entrances and exits.
“A lot of kids running, and I’m hearing screaming, so the security guard said, ‘There’s a little security issue. You have to bring down the gates to keep the consumers, our customers safe,’” said mall employee Greg Casiano.
The mall responded Friday by only allowing minors under 18 inside only if they came with an adult. Officers were posted outside asking for ID, and unaccompanied minors were asked to leave.
The decision upset some young people eager to spend their Christmas cash.
“We came here to shop, not to start anything,” said Shaquille Scotland of Canarsie, Brooklyn. “So basically, we came here for nothing, and now we have to go back home.”
But some agreed with the idea.
“They’re trying to calm down with so much kids coming here, being reckless,” said Rodney Francois of East Flatbush, Brooklyn. “I guess it probably makes sense, for now, you know.”
The policy will be in place indefinitely. Officials did not say how it will be enforced. In fact, some underage teens told CBS 2’s Tracee Carrasco that security guards didn’t stop them Friday night.
“He said ‘oh whatever, go in, you’re not a bad person,’ so that’s why stuff like that happens — security ain’t that good,” 15-year-old Jonathan Rodney said.
The mall reopened at 10 a.m. Saturday. A spokesman said the mall was consulting with the NYPD about security, but it was not clear whether the restriction on minors was still in place when the mall reopened.