By Marianna Hernandez
Invoking the name “Martin Luther King” and screaming “Black Power!” a gang of up to 30 black teens attacked four white girls in Marine Park in what police are saying is not a bias crime.
The March 30 attack was a hot topic at state Senator Marty Golden’s recent public safety forum.
According to witnesses and parents of the victims, four young girls from St. Edmund’s had the day off from school due to Easter recess. They were playing basketball during dismissal from nearby Marine Park Junior High School, when several Marine Park students demanded to use the court.
After adults intervened and asked them to wait their turn, the teens left - but returned in a pack of up to 30, both boys and girls, and stormed into the park.
Witnesses say the attackers were all black and called their victims “white crackers” during the bloody melee, which raged for almost 20 minutes.
“This is not being looked at as a bias crime,” NYPD Deputy Inspector Kevin McGinn said at the meeting.
“When I pulled my car up to the park, I witnessed a pandemonium I’ve never seen in my life,” said Debbie, a mother of one victim who asked to remain anonymous for safety reasons.
Her daughter ran to the car, screaming, “They’re going to kill us,” Debbie recalled. My daughter was so scared and kids were running around like crazy.
Pursued by dozens of teens, some of the girls were “literally running into traffic to save their lives,” she said.
One girl made it as far as a nearby house, but was dragged by her hair back into the playground by a “wolf pack of children,” Debbie said.
The St. Edmund girls were bleeding and beaten to the point where they had cuts, scrapes, footprints and dirt all over them - and the attackers surrounded her car and started pounding on the windows as Debbie tried to herd the terrified children into her vehicle.
Two girls were hospitalized - one with a broken nose and one with a head injury, according to Edith, the mother of another girl.
According to Lt. Mark Molinari, from the 63rd Precinct, five of the assailants, who attend Marine Park Junior High School, were arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault. But since the attackers are all under the age of 16, they are facing charges in Family Court, and were arraigned last Friday.
“I always felt safe in the area and after hearing about such an incident, you start thinking what else could happen. These situations should not be happening, not in Marine Park, or anywhere else, and the safety of our kids should be of most importance,” said Denise Williams, a parent from Gerritsen Beach.
“It’s getting progressively worse in the community - these types of gangs are not only taking away our parks, they‚re ruining our neighborhoods,” said parent Cathy Miller.
“Nobody expects their child to go to a park and get beaten, with footprints on her head and arm, everyone just wants their child to be safe,” said Edith. “Everyone should have the right to be safe from teens, to small kids, to seniors, to mothers with strollers, no one should fear of being beaten while enjoying a day in the park.”