After Vicious Beating At Flatbush Avenue McDonald’s, Community Leaders Call For Action

Photo by Mike Wright
Community activist Tony Herbert, at microphone, gathered with other neighbors outside the McDonald’s at 943 Flatbush Avenue on Sunday. Photo by Michael Wright

After last week’s vicious beating of a girl at a Flatbush Avenue McDonald’s, which was captured on a cell phone video that has since gone viral and sparked outrage worldwide, area leaders are vowing to do everything they can to curb violence in our community.

Tony Herbert joined other neighbors outside the McDonald’s at 943 Flatbush Avenue yesterday to announce the creation of the “One Family One Community” initiative, which he said will help connect after-school programs with funding, as well as help teens with college scholarships and other mentoring opportunities.

“That’s going to allow us to talk to leaders and parents and organizations all over the city,” Herbert told ABC 7 Eyewitness News. “…We’re going to come together and we’re going to get ahead of this curve and stop this violence.”

If you’d like to get involved with the “One Family One Community” initiative, Herbert told us you can call 347-977-2300.

Five teenage girls have been arrested and charged in the horrific attack last Monday, a video of which was published by the Daily News last Wednesday. Since then, people throughout our neighborhood, city and beyond, have vehemently denounced the attack, growing particularly irate over the fact that the beating was witnessed by numerous bystanders who did not intervene.

The NYPD said those arrested are: Aniah Ferguson, 16; Mercedes Wilkinson, 16; Tilani Marshall, 17; Zaira Ingran, 16; and a 15-year-old whose name the NYPD cannot release because of her age. Police told us this morning there was one more girl involved in the attack who has not yet been arrested.

Ferguson, Wilkinsin, Marshall, and the other teen were each charged with robbery and gang assault. Ingran was charged with resisting arrest, inciting riot, riot, assault, attempted assault, unlawful assembly, and disorderly conduct.

Photo via Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte
Police stand guard outside the McDonald’s at 943 Flatbush Avenue. Photo via Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte

The video, which you can see here (beware, there’s obviously a lot of violence), which shows a smaller girl trying to punch a bigger teen, after which the larger girl and a group of other girls proceed to assault the smaller individual inside the McDonald’s that’s located not far from Erasmus Hall High School.

At the end of the video, the victim remains on the ground as someone says, “Yo, she’s dead. It’s a murder.”

According to police, the 15-year-old victim was taken to Kings County Hospital on Monday and was released with non- life-threatening injuries.

Police told the New York Times that the the group of teens attend school at Erasmus Hall High School and had apparently met at the McDonald’s with the intent to fight, and the Daily News reported that the attack was prompted by “an unspecified slight against one of Ferguson’s friends.” Ferguson has been arrested six times since turning 16 in July on such charges as stabbing and punching family members, according to police.

Some of the attackers are allegedly linked to a group called the Young Savages, which police said is a “violent crew that operates out of Crown Heights,” the Daily News reported.

In addition to Herbert and other concerned neighbors, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte too said more attention needs to be paid to young and troubled neighbors and have called for more dialogue about what needs to be done to stem violence in the area.

In an email sent to the community, Bichotte said:

The young women involved in the assault have varied pasts that painfully illustrate how many of our children are being failed by our school system, our criminal justice system, our welfare system, and all civic establishments designed to give kids the chance to pursue a life of their choosing. We know at least one of the women has been arrested a half dozen times in the past year for a variety of assaults. Reports are slowly emerging that suggest that she is not the exception amongst these young women.

Instead of casting blame and taking comfort in the arrest of four of the six involved in the assault, we must ask tough questions. How come no safety net caught these young women before their lives collided on March 12? How do we comprehensively address the shortcomings of our institutions to stave off other children from falling into the same circumstances? What can each of us do to improve our present circumstances?

If you’d like to discuss these issues with our community leaders, you can call Tony Herbert at 347-977-2300, and Bichotte said she is encouraging neighbors to reach out to her office by calling 718-940-0428 or emailing

If you have any information to share with the police about the assault, you can do so by calling the NYPD’s crime stoppers hotline at 800-577-TIPS. The public can also submit their tips by logging onto the crime stoppers website or by texting their tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.

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Anna Gustafson

Editor of Ditmas Park Corner


  1. less gentrification. that seems to be the answer to everything in our neighborhood, right???

  2. Odd that Bichotte mentions, in terms of responsibilty for these young women’s mindless brutality, everyone but their parents.

    Perhaps that’s what she meant, though, by placing the onus on “our welfare system.” Way too easy to have babies and then not do the hard job of parenting.

  3. Oh of course it’s the institutions fault!! Until people grow a sense of responsibility for themselves, their families and their community NOTHING will change. How about community service in exchange for government benefits?

  4. Which by the way doesn’t mean that these girls’ parents are all on welfare. But parenting there certainly hasn’t been, not enough to counter whatever music and TV and peer influences are in play. Welfare or not, still too easy to have babies and then not parent, too easy to blame schoolteachers, and then too easy to blame everyone else who has to pick up the pieces.

  5. While the violence itself was reprehensible, what I find even more alarming was the complete lack of intervention on behalf of the bystanders, any number of whom were old enough and/or large enough to have stopped the beating.

    I find it utterly irresponsible that Assemblywoman Bichotte could blame “our school system, or criminal justice system, our welfare system, and all civic establishments designed to give our kids a chance” without making any mention of these kids’ parents or the bystanders that watched and cheered as this happened. Shame on her for perpetuating a craven culture of blame that’s one of the surest recruiting tools of the Tea Party.

  6. This is so frustrating. There is a part of me that advocates closing Erasmus High School and moving the criminals out of the neighborhood. I know that makes no sense, but it is how I’m feeling at the moment.

  7. WilliamCerf, you have a right to feel the way that you do. Unfortunately moving the high school out of the neighborhood will not solve the problem. My kid takes swimming at Erasmus on the weekends and I was shocked to see the full on metal detectors in the hallway as we gleefully traversed the staircase towards the swimming pool. These kids are receiving a free education and still can’t get their act together. It seems they need an alternative type of incarcetated school where they are quarantined from the rest of the civil kids with a desire to learn and better themselves.

  8. Andrew, I honestly don’t find the lack of intervention from the patrons at McDonald’s surprising. After the fracass started, I did not expect any of the patrons to intervene. Why? These kids are gang affiliated and have 0 value for the lives of others and themselves.
    What happens when the elderely person, or the parent steps in and breaks up the fight? “Little Barrom Brawler” tells her boyfriend that some dude pushed her and he needs to go protect her honor.” Said boyfriend and his gang of s looking go revenge and shoots up the McDonalds. These little hooligans need to be arrested and made an example of in order to deplore this World Star Hip Hop glorification of

  9. Black, Blue, Pink, White, Purple, Yellow and Orange lives matter. As rationale adults, I hope we can see the difference in between the “Black Lives Matter” campaign and these indefensible school students from erasmus high.

  10. lucky for your kid that they have the opportunity to take swimming lessons. You say that these kids are receiving a free education but what makes you think that the free education offered at Erasmus is up to par?

  11. You get out of education what you put into it. If these girls think about nothing but beating up one another, then they’re not reading books or doing their homework. Erasmus was the best school in Brooklyn for a very, very long time. That it has gone downhill is not the fault of the teachers or their union.

  12. NOTHING pisses me off more than the lack of PERSONAL RESPONSIBLITY. Who is this idiot woman Bichotte to blame ***everyone else*** besides these violent underage savages?
    It is NOT ***everyone else*** who has failed to give these kids a “chance to pursue a life of their choosing”. It’s their parents (or most likely Parent, singular) who did a really crappy job ‘raising’ their kids (yes, most likely plural) if they even attempted to at all.
    If you raise your kids well, teach them right from wrong, instill honor and integrity, emphasize the importance of education and getting good grades – as well as paying attention to them, loving them, being there for them – you will not have these (I really want to use a different phrase but) “problem children” causing havoc. I mean really, isn’t the first thing you teach a toddler “NO HITTING”?
    Obviously this wasn’t done and now it has become SOCIETY’S PROBLEM. Yay. That’s great.

  13. Agreed. Add to that mandatory birth control in exchange for benefits? And mandatory parenting classes for the kids they probably already have?

  14. I completely agree the root cause is in the home for those girls to behave so badly. Aniah beat up her grandmother and violated a protection order twice. My white middle class parents would have beat me to a pulp if I hit my own grandmother.
    Her grandmother probably is the only family member with money living in a house. Aniah most likely does not have a present father in the home. She knows she can get away with anything due to her age.
    I recommend some hard time for a year to wake her up.
    If I was at the McDonalds during the fight I would have run away as fast as possible. Gang kids will come back for you with guns.

  15. And why is Ms. Bichotte asking people to use her personal gmail account instead of her official Assembly one?

  16. You can bet Ms. Bichotte would not have intervened in that gang beatdown. Nor would she ever step foot in that McDonalds.

  17. I keep seeing news reports referring to “Erasmus High School.” But wasn’t Erasmus broken up years ago into “smaller academies” as a “failing school”? (An ignominious end for a glorious and historic secondary school!)

  18. Said perfectly! It’s awful when you start to think that maybe Romney with his “47% who don’t take personal responsibility” may actually be on to something. Maybe Ms. Bichotte is working for the GOP…

  19. The same thing occurred to me when I read Bichotte’s statement: what about the parents?! Surely they have SOME responsibility in raising their offspring, no? Or am I being old-fashioned? Bichotte blames the welfare system etc for failing these kids, but makes no mention of their parents. I find that VERY disturbing.

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