Caught on camera: 3 charged in Brooklyn grocery store melee

Friday, June 17, 2016
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Carolina Leid has the story.

WILLIAMSBURG, Brooklyn -- A dispute inside a Brooklyn grocery store ended with criminal charges filed against the store manager, and the incident was caught on wild cell phone video.

Mark Soto admits he was angry, so furious that he lashed out at the managers of The Central Market in Williamsburg, shoving and even slugging them in a melee that left shoppers stunned.

What set him off, he said, was a deep cut beneath his daughter's right eye that she claimed was the result of a soda can hurled at her face.

"Her eye split open, blood all over her clothes, what am I supposed to do?" he said. "I go inside to approach the gentleman to ask why he did this, and there's like four or five of them getting aggressive with me."

Soto said he had been at home when he got the phone call, that his daughter and his nephew were shopping when one of the managers told the young man he couldn't use his hoverboard in the store.

"When you're told politely, 'Get off the hoverboard,' get off the hoverboard," community activist Isaac Abraham said.

Abraham says words were exchanged and things escalated, and Soto admitted his daughter began shouting.

"So my daughter was like, 'What are you doing?' and my daughter went close to him," he said. "He shoved my daughter, so my daughter shoved him. The next thing you know, my daughter is grabbing her face."

Soto was later arrested on an assault charge, along with the two store managers, one of whom was charged with felony assault for allegedly striking Soto's daughter.

"The father of the girl who got hurt arrived, and he went into a rage," one witness said. "And he started just going wild in the store, as you see in the video."

Cell phone video was obtained from a law enforcement source and is now evidence in the case.

"When they finally take him into the precinct, Mr. Soto gets a desk appearance ticket," Abraham said. "But the victim, the manager...he ends up going through the system."

Abraham believes Soto should face the more serious felony charge for assaulting the managers.