Twitter Used During Times Square Riot By Youths Purporting to be Part of Harlem Gangs
By Heather Grossmann
DNAinfo News Editor
MANHATTAN — News of the Easter Sunday violence in Times Square spread via Twitter both during the riot and afterwards, seemingly implicating several Harlem youth gangs in the brutal events of the evening.
The NYPD arrested and issued summonses to a total of 54 people — seven of them juveniles — after four people were shot in the Times Square melee, which broke out late Sunday evening, the NYPD said.
Easter Sunday is known to many in the area as "Gang Initiation Day." Youth reportedly gather after the annual auto show at the Javits Center, which often takes place the same weekend as Easter, and then head over to Times Square.
Police said they were investigating the possible role of gangs in the incident and Mayor Michael Bloomberg referred to the outbreak of violence as "a bunch of gang members wilding."
Tweets referencing the Times Square mayhem and including the acronyms for Harlem Youth gangs like Original Young Gangsters (OYG) and Get Money Boys (GMB) flew Sunday and Monday.
"WENT MOBBIN ON 42....WAT YU DOIN TODAY?" a person with the Twitter handle _650K tweeted Monday at a friend who asked what he had done the night before.
Earlier in the day _650K tweeted, "WE WAS MOBBIN LASS NITE THO OY BMG FSU DOE LOE NO WAT IM SAYIN MAN..."
Another Twitter user called BADBOY_BUTTA, who lists his location as "Harlem/Da Hill," tweeted "SHOUT OUT 2 GMB BMG OYG NIGGAS WAS LIVE ON 42ND."
"42ND WAS LIVEEEE WE OYYY NIGGAS WAS GOING CRAZYY OUT THERE," the same user said on Twitter at about 4:30 a.m. early Monday morning.
Twitter user WINGBOYRAY, who is followed by BADBOY_BUTTA, tweeted at about 2 a.m., "I did not see none of my followerz on 42," in an apparent reference to the Times Square gang gathering.
There were also several tweets that seemed to refer to the numerous arrests made in Times Square Sunday night.
"FREE ALL THE GANGSTAS ESPECIALLY MY MAN MARS WHO GOT SCOOP TONIGHT," BADBOY_BUTTA tweeted.
William Lessenburry, who is an employee at Harlem hot spot Sylvia’s, said that a lot of people in his Harlem community thought that the Times Square brawling was between one or two specific gangs, but he felt the fighting was "random more than anything else."
"There’s a little bit of gang violence here, but the police are doing more than anything else and it’s under control," Lessenburry said.
Most of the Twitter feeds of the "friends" of the purported gang members are locked and can only be viewed if the user approves a request to follow them.
The NYPD confirmed that they were investigating the role of gangs in the violent outbursts, but would not comment specifically on what gangs they suspected of involvement.