The beating of a New York teenager at a Brooklyn McDonald's prompted community activists to plan a vigil to offer prayers for the teen and the community and denounce the violence. The National Action Network chapter in Brooklyn scheduled the vigil for Ariana Taylor, 15, for Monday night. Police have arrested five female teenagers in the beating that hospitalized Taylor for nonlife-threatening injuries.
NAN, the civil rights organization founded by the Rev. Al Sharpton, said some of the students involved in the fight are from a local school, Erasmus High, some of them reportedly gang-affiliated. NAN’s Youth Huddle, a youth leadership group that organizes anti-violence programs, is expected to call for unity among the Erasmus students. Youth Huddle is run by Sharpton’s eldest daughter, Dominique Sharpton.
Recorded on a cell phone, the three-minute footage of a fight among several young women showed Taylor being hit and kicked as a crowd cheered in the background. The video went viral after it was posted on Facebook and YouTube last Wednesday. Aniah Ferguson, 16, who police say was the ringleader of the attack, was arrested Thursday and charged with second-degree robbery and gang assault. A 14- or 15-year-old girl was arrested Friday after being pulled off a Jamaica-bound plane in Atlanta. Three teenage girls suspected in the beating were arrested during the weekend, NBC News reported.
The Sharpton-led group has previously held violence-prevention events to reach youth in all five of New York’s boroughs. In 2013, NAN launched the “Occupy the Corners” anti-violence vigil on four consecutive weekends during that summer. Each night, from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m., community activists, politicians and church leaders stood on corners in the city’s “hotspot” areas as a show of support for neighborhoods most plagued by gun violence.