Locals cry cover-up over mall brawl

Final Fidler: Lew Fidler spoke at his last 63rd Precinct Community Council Meeting as the area’s councilman on Dec. 30, and expressed his disappointment of the NYPD’s handling of the Kings Plaza incident and the lack of communication with the public following it.
Brooklyn Daily
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Locals with questions for the police about the post-Christmas chaos at Kings Plaza Shopping Center got mozzarella sticks instead of answers at the Dec. 30 meeting of the 63rd Precinct Community Council, and local leaders are complaining of a cover-up.

The final community council gathering of 2013 was more of a party than a meeting for the community residents who showed at the festively decorated John Malone Community Center four days after hundreds of teens ran rampant through the nearby mall, fighting and shoving police who tried to intervene.

The Dec. 26 mayhem — recorded on grainy cellphone videos that went viral the day after the incident — resulted in no arrests and no reported theft or property damage, according to official statements from NYPD headquarters — a claim outgoing Councilman Lew Fidler found incredible.

“If you saw the video, there were kids fighting with police,” said Fidler at the meeting. “You can see a girl walk up and hit an officer in the face. How can there be no arrests?”

The NYPD’s official stance is that no arrests were made, because no complaints were filed regarding any theft and violence that occurred at the mall, according to statements from both the department’s Office of the Deputy Commissioner of Public Information and the 63rd Precinct.

Police headquarters initially claimed that no NYPD personnel were involved until Kings Plaza management called for help at 9 pm — when the mall was scheduled to close, and hours after the violence began — but the 63rd Precinct later said that it already had officers on the scene at the time.

A letter to community leaders from Officer Thomas Podd of the 63rd Precinct’s community affairs office dismissed the incident as “a group of rambunctious teens acting like children.”

Several of those community leaders attended the community council meeting hoping to ask the commanding officer, Deputy Inspector John Rowell, how the situation was allowed to escalate to the point where many businesses were forced to close their roll-down gates, holding customers inside for their safety. But Rowell skipped the meeting due to a “prior engagement” — an excuse that outraged Fidler.

“I don’t know what business the inspector had, but he should be here to communicate what’s happened at Kings Plaza,” Fidler said.

The precinct did send a representative, but the report the officer provided managed to omit any new information regarding the mall incident, while boasting about a reduction of the precinct’s crime rate — which some attendees believed might be related.

“They sent [an officer] down here to boast to everybody how the precinct led the city in crime reduction, when their officers aren’t reporting the crimes they witness,” he said.

Michael Benjamin, the President of the Bergen Beach Civic Association, later posted his agreement with Fidler on the group’s Facebook page.

“Councilman Lew Fidler was exactly right in his comments about police not wanting to increase their crime stats via arrests,” Benjamin wrote. “So, a near-riot is ‘off the books’ in the 63.”

Incoming Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Canarsie), who was also at the meeting, said later that as the new councilman, he would push to meet with both Deputy Inspector Rowell and Kings Plaza management in an effort to get to the bottom of the incident.

“Now that we’re back to business, I’m going to reach out to Inspector Rowell and see what his take is, and I’m going to sit down with Kings Plaza and see what their security plan is,” said Maisel.

The precinct spokesman at the meeting declined to comment on the Kings Plaza incident after making his report.

Updated 12:17 pm, January 17, 2014
Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.
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Reader feedback

JP says:
If the perps are not white with long hair and a joint in their hands, the cowardly 63 runs like hell. The 63 are enemies of the Caucasian. Nothing will change until you arm yourselves to the teeth and throw these pigs out of your community.
Jan. 8, 2014, 10:48 am
Rule #1 for the 63rd. If the perps are not harmless white kids... They do not respond. Fro decades the 63 has been successful at locking up long haired pot heads, while ignoring real crime. The 63 should be put under a microscope. It's the "arrest the white kids" prescient
Jan. 8, 2014, 10:53 am
Bernadette from Gerritsen beach says:
To bad they are all running scared, they are afraid of Sharpton and Jackson the riot baiting A holes, I watched the cop get pushed down , why no arrests ? Then they think there was a white boy with a gun , get a grip! The policemelitia!
Jan. 8, 2014, 3:07 pm
Marine Parker says:
My wife and daughter were there that night. If not for the sales person at Bed Bath and Beyond telling my wife that they just received a call that something bad was going to happen and to take my daughter and get out ASAP, they would have been in that mess! She grabbed my daughter and left fourth with. On the way out, she witnessed blatant crime and assaults. On top of that, Kings Plaza had the audacity to have only one parking exit open and was collecting money for parking from a mall that was under attack by violent savages. It took her over an hour and twenty minutes to get out of the lot!
Jan. 8, 2014, 4:33 pm
Colin Mixson from says:
If anyone was at Kings Plaza when the fighting broke out and would like to share anecdotes similar to the one related in the comment posted by the Marine Park gentleman above, should call my office. 718 260 4514.

Best regards,
Colin Mixson
Jan. 9, 2014, 3:55 pm
Melvin Band from Sheepshead Bay says:
All these police officials who deflect the truth, get their pictures on U- Tube. People should also get better cell phone cameras. AND where in the world was outgoing Borough President Marty Markowitz? Feeding his face with Juniors cheesecake or down at Nathan's with a hot dog. Chances are he was at the Barclay's Center. Remember this is the man who had a dream that one day, the Brookln Nets would beat the New York Knicks. Wow. That's real deep.
Jan. 9, 2014, 6:34 pm
Marine Parker from Marine Park says:
Colin, perhaps your paper should investigate how the Mall handled the situation? I for one will never enter that savage infested mall again nor will I allow my wife of kids shop their. I understand that they can not eliminate the elements that caused the trouble but their disregard for the safety of those leaving the parking lot was despicable!

Also, why did the mall reverse their decision to not let those under 18 be in the mall without an adult after 6? Kings Plaza should be a Marine Park, Bergan Beach and Old Mill Basin gem not a place for troubled youth to cause havoc!
Jan. 9, 2014, 8:35 pm
Black cat from Marine Park says:
“So, a near-riot is ‘off the books’ in the 63.”

Everything is off the books in the 63, the worst police dept. I have ever seen. They don't do anything except wait at the corner sat the end of the month if u run a light and give you a ticket.
Jan. 10, 2014, 11:09 am
Kamala jenkins-romano from Flatbush says:
These kids act like a bunch of wild baboons. It is a shame the police department gives preferential treatment to these animals, and are afraid of sending real men into the plaza of the damned to curtail the lawlessness.
March 4, 2014, 10:50 am

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