“When I was a kid, I used to go with my friends to Kings Plaza. And I used to let my kids go there by bus and shop on their own. I always felt it was safe. Now I’m not so sure,” a Brighton Beach mom, Mrs. Leah Winner, told Hamodia.
On Thursday, at 5:00 p.m., when schools are out and many people have left work, making it the height of the shopping day, dozens of teens became angry and violent in various locations throughout the Kings Plaza Mall, located at Flatbush Avenue and Avenue U in Brooklyn, possibly due to finding out that a performer was not going to show up.
Some say the mini-riot, as it has been called, was planned ahead of time, while others say it was spontaneous because the teens were disappointed after they expected to see the performer but then were informed that he was not going to come.
There were many witnesses to the violence, and many cell phone videos were taken, but no arrests were made. Two security guards carried a teenage boy out by his wrists and ankles, video footage shows.
According to the NY Post, the angry teens vandalized several stores and stole merchandise as cashiers and sales staff tried their best to pull down the gates and lock the thieves and vandals out. Shoppers ran for the exits, many pulling their frightened children after them.
Abu Taleb, 31, a clerk at a candy kiosk in Kings Plaza, told the Post, “I was begging them to stop. There were a lot of kids, hundreds of kids… [Security] would chase them out one door and they would come back in another door. I’ve been here seven years, and I have never seen anything like this before.”
“They were playing the knockout game,” said Shante, a 21-year-old perfume merchant, in reference to a violent trend in which teens try to knock out an unsuspecting victim with a single punch.
The mall was shuttered at around 7 p.m. for roughly an hour and has since issued a temporary “no teens” rule, in which anyone under 21 must be accompanied by an adult, police sources were quoted as saying.
A fight broke out at the same shopping center during a 2010 appearance by the same performer. “His fans seem to have problems with self-control,” concluded one Brooklyn father drily.
Another told Hamodia, “My non-Jewish neighbor told me that his songs seem to glorify violence, so obviously his fans are attracted to violence and find it entertaining. Why would parents allow kids to listen to such ‘music’?”