The 16-year-old girl arrested in connection with a vicious brawl involving a group of girls inside a Brooklyn McDonald's earlier this week has been arrested half a dozen times since September on various offenses, including for allegedly attacking a pregnant woman in an emergency room and her own grandmother, records show.
Aniah Ferguson was arraigned Friday in Brooklyn on robbery and gang assault charges in connection with Monday's brawl, which was recorded on cellphone and posted on Facebook, prompting outcry from parents and community advocates. Ferguson is charged as an adult.
Two other teenagers were being questioned Friday in connection with the brawl, law enforcement sources said. Law enforcement officials said another person linked to the brawl was pulled off a plane in Atlanta Friday evening as she tried to fly to Jamaica. NYPD alerted authorities in Georgia that she was on the plane and they got to her right before take-off, law enforcement officials said.
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Law enforcement records indicate Ferguson has a history of violence. She was arrested last month on assault, weapons and other charges after allegedly stabbing her brother with a knife during an argument. Ferguson was arrested twice in October for allegedly attacking her grandmother.
In one of the cases, she allegedly scratched the woman's face and punched her twice. Eight days later, Ferguson allegedly harassed her grandmother and resisted officers trying to get her into custody.
In December, Ferguson was arrested in yet another altercation involving her grandmother. Earlier arrests in September stem from fighting with police in an emergency room after allegedly punching a stranger and stealing watches from her niece.
It wasn't immediately clear if those cases were all still open.
Marie Josef, the woman Ferguson was accused of attacking in the ER in September, told NBC 4 New York in an exclusive interview that she hadn't forgotten the teenager's face. Josef was a month pregnant at the time of the encounter and having complications, which is why she went to the ER.
"This girl assumed that I was staring at her and I wasn't even paying her no attention. I was waiting for my name to be called and go into the triage," Josef said. "She was like, 'What the hell? What the f you looking at?' I was like, 'I'm not looking at you, you're nobody to me, you're not important, I don't know you.'"
Josef says Ferguson was cursing, picking a fight with other people, then zeroed in on her.
"She says she don't care my face not pregnant my stomach is not my face she's gonna hit me that's what she says," Josef said.
Then, Josef says, Ferguson punched her in the head. Now seven months pregnant, Josef says she has lingering physical and emotional problems stemming from the random violent encounter.
"She needs to be put somewhere and never let out because this girl is very violent," Josef said.
In court Thursday, Ferguson's public defender said the teen has been attending counseling once a week for the past year in an effort to "better her life." Prosecutors allege she was the ringleader in the McDonald's beatdown and stole the victim's bag, makeup and phone after the attack.
They also allege she is part of the Young Savages gang, a violent group known to be involved in patterns of violence and credit card scams.
Ferguson, who lives with her mother and grandmother she has been accused of attacking, was ordered held on $500,000 bail. She also has a 1-year-old daughter. None of the three attended her arraignment Friday.
Video of the McDonald's attack, which was posted on Facebook, shows four girls, all believed to be Erasmus Hall High School students, repeatedly punching and kicking another teen wearing a blue hooded sweatshirt while throngs of bystanders shout in the background.
The larger group continues to attack the teen in the blue sweatshirt, even pulling out her hair extensions, until the girl huddles underneath a table with her hands over her head. At one point, one of the girls in the group stomps on the victim's head. The victim suffered a concussion, bruises and contusions, according to a criminal complaint.
At several points during the fight, bystanders can be heard saying, "She’s dead," and, "You murdered her."
The video ends with several students picking the girl up off the ground and putting her on a bench.
Police initially said the investigation had been hampered by a lack of cooperating witnesses, including the girl in the blue sweatshirt in her mother, but NBC 4 New York learned Friday that the victim had come forward to file a police report.
The Department of Education, meanwhile, called the actions seen in the video "abhorrent."
-Jonathan Dienst contributed to this report