The DNAinfo archives brought to you by WNYC.
Read the press release here.

Argument Over Hoverboard Inside Supermarket Escalates Into Brawl, NYPD Says

By  Gwynne Hogan Janon Fisher and Trevor Kapp | June 16, 2016 11:14am 

WILLIAMSBURG — An argument over a hoverboard inside a supermarket erupted into violence after one of the store's managers hurled a peach at a woman involved while another tackled her to the ground, prompting her father to punch several employees, according to police and a video of the incident.

The dust-up began inside the Central Market at 54 Division Ave. on June 9, when 24-year-old Julissa Soto's teen nephew came into the store riding on his hoverboard, she said.

Julissa Soto, 24, had a peach thrown at her and was tackled inside Central Market by store managers after an argument over her young relative riding a hoverboard in the store.

The boy knocked some of the items off the store's shelves as he wheeled around the aisles and the managers asked him not to ride it in the market, according to police and Isaac Abraham, the building's tenant association president who got the account from the managers.

The boy did not hear the manager's request and one of them shoved him, saying "We don't need your money, get out of the store," Soto said. She said she shoved the manager back.

Mattis Edelstein, 29, hurled a peach "very hard" at her after she got separated from her nephew and tried to re-enter the store to fetch him, according to police.

"He did it with intention and with force," she said. "He just threw the peach and aimed it right at my face."

The hurled fruit blackened her right eye and opened up a gash that bled all over her clothes, Soto said.

When she stood up and tried get her nephew, she was surrounded by store employees, including Abraham Spielman, 21, who restrained her, dislocating her shoulder, she said.

Soon after the incident, the woman's father, Mark Soto, 41, came to her defense, punching the store workers repeatedly in an attack caught on cellphone video. 

The man who posted the video, Gary Schlesinger, wouldn't immediately comment further on the incident. In the video, the woman's father is seen punching several men, and Edelstein is shown with a bloody nose.

Joel Banda, a passerby who rushed into the supermarket when he heard the commotion, tried to shield one of the manager's from Soto's blows with cardboard. He got punched in the lip in the process.

"[I was] just trying to stop the violence and get everybody to calm down," Banda said. "I know [the managers] I shop here, I was trying to help out."

The two store managers and the woman's father were all arrested after the incident, according to police.

Spielman was issued a desk appearance ticket for misdemeanor assault and released, police said. He couldn't be immediately reached for comment.

Prosecutors charged Edelstein with assault and menacing. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on July 28, court records show. Neither he nor his attorney returned requests for comment.

Soto, who could be heard in the video shouting, "Jews" and I'm going to kill you" to the managers, was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault.

He told DNAinfo New York that he was simply defending his family.

"I saw my daughter bleeding," he said. "I lost my cool. I'm not a violent person...[but] as a parent you come down and you see your daughter bleeding, her clothes covered in blood, what would you do?"

Spielman's lawyer denied his client had done anything wrong.

"Even a preliminary review of the credible evidence, including video evidence, already suggests that Mr. Spielman will be fully exonerated in this matter, when all is said and done," attorney Edward Rodriguez said. "We look forward to ensuring that justice is done."

Abraham and others in the Orthodox Jewish community expressed anger that Soto was not charged with a more serious crime.

"Just a misdemeanor?" the tenant association president said. "I question the precinct's decision on this."

Workers at the supermarket declined to comment.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Police originally said that the woman involved was riding the hoverboard, but photos show that a boy, who was related to her, was actually on the board.