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The brawl was caught on video.

A brutal brawl caught on camera has some Bay Ridge residents questioning the safety of one busy street corner.

A halal cart owner and operator was hospitalized in the early hours of Monday, October 16 after a fight broke out at around 11:35 p.m. Sunday night in front of his food truck, located at the corner of 86th Street and Fifth Avenue, outside of Chase Bank.

While some initial reports claimed that the fight had begun elsewhere, and that the vendor had stepped in to break up the fight, a local police source told this paper that the actions of the cart operator may have been a catalyst in the confrontation.

“People who had bought food were hanging out behind the cart, leaving garbage on the floor and the vendor asked them not to leave stuff there,” the source said, adding that a woman in the group responded by throwing a can at the vendor. He then either pushed the woman or called her a name, according to the source, “and her companions [started] beating him up” at which time, the source added, the vendor’s son who was across the street at the time, observed the altercation, ran across the street and joined in on the street fight.

No matter the cause, Community Board 10 District Manager Josephine Beckmann is calling for reform.

“There have been other fights at both of the vendor carts,” she told this paper, attributing the issues to the carts’ lack of regulated hours of operation. “They are open until the early morning hours and they draw a large bar crowd. We’ve had a number of past complaints, especially from residents who live on Fifth Avenue, upset about the late-night screaming and yelling.”

The board, Beckmann said, has advocated in the past for the limitation of hours of operations for street vendors to “mirror those existing rules for sidewalk use, such as a sidewalk cafe.”

“We need some consistency,” she said. “Especially in a residential district where you have a motor running the whole time, it also becomes a quality of life issue.”

Graphic footage of the Sunday fight show punches and kicks being thrown, as well as a chain pulled out and used to whip the vendor.

News reports claimed that a 25-year-old had been arrested and would likely be charged with assault. However, the police source told this paper that the incident is still very much under investigation, and that the police “have another person of interest.” Furthermore, the source said, no one is pressing charges.

The vendor, who reports claim fled the scene, was treated at NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn.

86th Street, Beckmann explained, has a restriction on general vending, but not on food vending.

Since this story’s original publication, supporters of the local food cart have maintained the vendor’s innocence, many of them also opposing any talk of reform.

“This was an innocent man trying to break up a fight,” remarked one Facebook user.

Another said the vendor is being blamed for the “actions of violent drunks.”

Update: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that police were “standing guard” on the street corner. The article has also been updated with additional commentary from supporters of the food cart.


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Loulou October 25, 2017 / 10:58AM
Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights are going down, there is not enough police presence around and the food carts do whatever they want, not fair.

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