Six people were arrested inside a Nassau County courtroom Friday after brawls broke out during the arraignment of a murder suspect, Nassau County police said.
The bizarre battle occurred Sept. 20 during the arraignment of Pedro Merchant, 20, of North Valley Stream. He was charged with second-degree murder in connection with a fatal shooting of a 17-year-old from Hempstead.
The six men arrested during the court proceeding were allegedly in the courtroom gallery to watch Merchant’s arraignment. Witnesses said verbal arguments and shouting began in the courtroom and officers ordered the judge off the bench and the courtroom cleared.
As the victim’s family and supporters of the suspect entered the courthouse hallway, the two groups began to brawl. The physical altercations soon spilled across the courthouse and onto nearby Main Street.
Eleven court officers were injured in the melee and the six men were charged with second-degree criminal contempt, as well as first-degree and second-degree riot. One of the officers was hospitalized for injuries, a police spokesman said.
The six alleged aggressors will be arraigned Saturday on the charges. They are: Abdul Rahim Robinson, 22, of West Hempstead; Aaron Munlin, 20, of Hempstead; Jerry Merchant, 50, of Hempstead; Louis Merchant, 51, of Philadelphia, Pa.; Shapeace Goodwine, 22, of Roosevelt; and Terry Green, 28, of Elmont.
During his Friday arraignment, Judge Eric Bjorbney ordered Pedro Merchant held without bail.