March 19, 2018 / Brooklyn news / Park Slope / Brooklyn Is Angry

‘I’ for incomplete: Impassioned students ditch protest to glimpse nearby brawl

Fight and flight: A student protest outside a Seventh Avenue cell-phone retailer on Friday ended abruptly after an unrelated fight drew the young demonstators away.
Brooklyn Paper
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

This protest turned violent — but not in the way you’d expect.

A crowd of students stormed a Park Slope cellphone store during a Friday protest that lasted for about five minutes before quickly dissolving when the young activists ditched the rally to watch a fight that broke out down the street.

The kids organized the short-lived demonstration in response to a video featuring racist remarks made by an employee of the authorized AT&T retailer at 242 Seventh Ave., which is across the street from the John Jay Educational Campus. The footage captured the worker saying “Damn, I got mad monkeys in front of my store — mad monkeys” while pupils from the learning complex staged a walkout on Wednesday as part of a national call for gun-law reform.

A student at Park Slope Collegiate, one of the four schools within John Jay, discovered the video clip on Thursday after it was posted to a public Snapchat story about the walkout, according to the pupil’s friend Amanda Lee, a Collegiate senior who said she then hastily organized the next-day after-school protest with the help of educators, the parent-teacher association, and social media.

Roughly two-dozen students showed up outside the cellphone peddler around 3:30 pm, where they chanted and waved signs condemning the employee’s vile words — which couldn’t have come at a worse time, Lee said.

“It makes me furious,” she said. “I’m fighting for you, and you’re feeding into the hate calling us monkeys? That’s not okay.”

Other workers at the shop refused to comment on their colleague’s racist remarks, but acknowledged they knew of the protest minutes before it began.

And during the rally, an employee could be seen attempting to keep busy as it unfolded — but he didn’t have to feign productivity for long, because minutes after the demonstration started, the students fled to glimpse an unrelated fight that erupted outside the nearby Rite Aid at Seventh Avenue and Fifth Street.

The mother of a student at Millennium High School, which is also within John Jay, said she was inside the pharmacy when she heard a group of young men arguing outside and then watched as the dispute evolved into a “savage” brawl when three of the teens started viciously attacking another kid.

“You don’t know how they were going to beat this boy down,” said the woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity in fear of her daughter’s safety. “They weren’t stopping, this kid was going to die.”

The mom claimed she intervened in the fracas, ripping a chain off one of the teen’s attackers as he fled the scene with his cohorts. School-safety officers sprinted after the baddies as they ran along Seventh Avenue towards Fourth Street, but made no immediate arrests, according to a cop.

The cellphone salesman whose heinous comments spawned the students’ protest, meanwhile, no longer works at the store, according to an AT&T spokeswoman, who blasted the video as “disturbing and unacceptab­le.”

“We are in contact with the vendor who operates the store, and understand the employee who made the video no longer works there,” said Kate MacKinnon.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4505.
Updated 5:47 pm, July 9, 2018
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook

Don’t miss our updates:

Reasonable discourse

Frank from Bay Ridge says:
The great American anglo-saxon society was turned upside down so we can appease these people. amazing!
March 19, 2018, 9:23 pm
SCR from Realityville says:
There are growing numbers of cellular-phones stores,in the employees have a ZERO concept of customer-relations. At least NOT,if they do NOT immediately see you,as a sucker,who they grossly overchsrge for a new phone,and especially a monthly plan. This is particularly so,when they charge high interest-rates,for the phone purchases. Go only to the most reputable stores.
March 19, 2018, 11:19 pm
SCR from Realityville says:
P.S.And from my own personal experiences,all the cellular-phone companies,equally have some good stores;and their shares of rotten ones.
March 20, 2018, 10:34 am
Latoya from Crown Heights says:
These kids are living their principles. Don't shoot: beat people to death.
March 20, 2018, 1:05 pm

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: