NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Kings Plaza shopping center in Brooklyn has decided to lift a policy that forbade minors unaccompanied by adults, following a violent melee last week.
“Teens are now welcome without escort however we ask that they respect the center’s code of conduct while visiting the center,” mall management said in a statement. “Fighting and other disturbing behavior will not be tolerated and we will continue to work with NYPD to ensure our Code of Conduct is being enforced.”
The policy stemmed from a brawl that began a short time before the mall in Mill Basin closed at 9 p.m. Thursday. A cellphone video showed a group of 300 teenagers charging through the shopping center as police and mall security tried to get them to leave. The footage then shows teens fighting each other and police wrestling some teens to the floor.
Police escorted the teens out. No arrests were made.
The mall responded Friday by only allowing those under 18 inside if they were accompanied by an adult. Officers were posted outside asking for ID.
Activists denounced the teens who started the brawl Sunday. Tony Herbert, an activist with the National Action Network, told WCBS 880 that the teens’ actions are a setback for civil rights.
“These young people thought it enough to take it upon themselves to go into a place of business and act in such a demonic way, if you want to call it that,” he said. “What they did was deplorable, was disrespectful not only to the shoppers that were there as well as the shop owners, but very disrespectful to the civil rights leaders who actually fought for them to have the right to be able to go into a store and not be profiled.”
Herbert said his group is working with the NYPD to identify those responsible. He said he doesn’t want them to be arrested, but supports ordering them to perform community service.
“Those who were involved were probably just following behind a host of others,” he said. “It was just pure stupidity, and this, again, cannot happen in any mall, any store, any place of business or in the community at all.”
A lot of parents had been embarrassed because their teenage children “can’t go to Kings Plaza Mall without being escorted because they’re under the age of 18. That’s an issue because they should be able to be mature enough to understand the detriment of their actions,” Herbert added.
Herbert said the National Action Network is also working with police to establish a mentoring program in public schools to prevent future similar incidents.
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