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Top cop: Barclays plaza fights "a mall issue," given crowds of teens; future plaza events to be cleared with 78th

On Monday, 9/15/14, fights among teenagers on the plaza outside the Barclays Center, during a BEAT Festival performance by the Bed-Stuy Veterans on an outdoor stage, led to an arrest of a teenage girl and several people handcuffed, as DNAinfo reported 9/16/14.

Two days later, DNAinfo published a video of part of the fight, showing a youth clashing with a cop and several teens handcuffed as police tried to maintain order.

Last night, Captain Frank DiGiacomo, Commanding Officer of the 78th Precinct, called the fracas "a mall issue, not a Barclays issue," since the Atlantic Terminal and Atlantic Center malls draw groups of teenagers after school who have nothing better to do. 

A similar afternoon event on the arena plaza in 2013, DiGiacomo said, drew "ten spectators." This time, he said, "everyone hanging out at the mall moved across the street," and two fights broke out.

The police, DiGiacomo acknowledged, were not completely prepared. The precinct's mall detail was on the scene, but the Barclays detail, which typically is assigned to evening events occurring inside the arena, was not present.

Going forward, he said, arena operators will not hold similar events without clearing it first with the precinct.

Added Sgt. Angelo Pirozzi, a leader of the Barclays Center detail, social media can cause attention to explode, drawing hundreds of teens to an alert of a fight.

They spoke at the monthly meeting of the 78th Precinct Community Council, held at 7:30 pm on the last Tuesday of each month, September through June.