You’ve seen Black Friday — introducing Black and Blue Thursday.
The Kings Plaza Shopping Center erupted into chaos the day after Christmas when fights broke out and acts of hooliganism spread throughout the mall, as hundreds of bystanders looked on and took pictures, according to witnesses.
An amateur video by a witness that has gone viral on Facebook and YouTube shows a number of scuffles scattered around the shopping center’s second level at around 6 pm. Best Buy is clearly visible in the background.
The grainy footage also features several individuals who appear to be NYPD officers intervening to try and break up the fights, but a police spokesman could not confirm whether they were police or mall security officers.
In one scuffle, an officer is yanked onto the floor by a rolling pinwheel of fighting teenagers. Before he can regain his footing, another young lady stalks up to the combatants, strikes one of them, and then nonchalantly walks towards another fight.
After the gentleman manages to restrain both brawlers, a colleague comes to his assistance, allowing him to find the girl who struck the first pair of fighting teens — before the video ends, he can be seen dragging her by the elbow across the malls carpet.
The outbreak of violence was not limited to what was seen in the video, with sporadic fighting flaring up all day across the shopping center, according to Best Buy employee Meryn Schraier, 27.
“There were fights downstairs, upstairs, all happening at the same time,” she said. “It was all over the mall.”
The first brawls began at around 1:30 pm, and the constant fighting prompted stores across the mall to close their doors and lower their gates, according to Schraier.
The Best Buy where Schraier works closed once for ten minutes, and then again later in the day for half an hour, over fears that the fighting and hooliganism gripping the mall would spill into their aisles.
The entire mall was closed to patrons for 20 minutes at around 7 pm, according to Schraier.
Throughout the post-Christmas ordeal, hundreds of onlookers crowded around the pockets of fighting teens, heckling, cheering, screaming, and snapping pictures.
“There were about 200 people all crowded around, usually two groups of two people fighting,” said Schraier. “There where a lot of people around.”
Police responded to the incident, but not until they were asked for assistance by mall management, according to an NYPD spokesman — at 9 pm, when the mall typically closes for the day, and more than seven hours after witnesses first spotted trouble.
A message sent to community leaders by the 63 Precinct Friday morning, however, explains that there were officers from the precinct at the mall when the first act of teenage shenanigans occurred.
“We had a group of rambunctious teens acting like children in the mall last night. We already had officers in the mall,” the letter read.
The responding officers were able to disperse the rowdy crowd, and no arrests were made, cops said.
No complaints have been filed with NYPD and, until a report is made by a victim, police cannot say whether any property was stolen or destroyed, or whether any bystanders were the victims of violence, according to police.
Furthermore, no injuries were reported as a result of the attacks, according to a spokesmen for both the FDNY and NYPD.
Messages left for Steve DeClara, Kings Plaza’s property manager, were not returned.
A statement from by Kings Plaza, however, did acknowledge that an “incident” had occurred.
“There was an incident last evening involving a large group of teens, but thanks to the support of the New York Police Department and mall security, the center is business as usual,” the statement read.
In response to the chaos that overwhelmed the mall Thursday, the Kings Plaza Shopping Center enacted a temporary policy forbidding “teenagers” from entering the mall without an adult chaperon over the weekend, according to Kings Plaza marketing manager Dawn Simon.
“For a short time we asked that teens only visit the center when accompanied by an adult,” Simon wrote in an e-mail.
Its unclear how the policy was enforced, or if any of the mall’s younger patrons have been evicted as a result.
As of Monday, teenagers were again allowed in the mall without adult supervision, albeit with the warning that “disturbing behavior” will not be tolerated, according to Simon.
“Teens are now welcome without escort. However, we ask that they respect the center’s code of conduct while visiting the center,” Simon said. “Fighting and other disturbing behavior will not be tolerated and we will continue to work with the NYPD to ensure our code of conduct is being enforced.”
Last year the Kings Plaza Shopping Center was sold to Macerich for $751 million.