Six people were arrested Friday after a brawl broke out at First District Court in Hempstead between supporters of a man being arraigned for murder and the victim’s family, authorities said.
The courtroom erupted into chaos just as 20-year-old Pedro Merchant’s arraignment for allegedly gunning down 17-year-old Dante Quinones last week was winding down.
The fight began inside the court room and spilled out into the hallways around 11 a.m., police said. The six men arrested for their role in the brawl traded punches and ignored court officers’ orders to clear out, police said.
The six men were identified as 22-year-old Abdul Rahim Robinson of West Hempstead, 20-year-old Aaron Munlin of Hempstead, 50-year-old Jerry Merchant of Hempstead, 51-year-old Louis Merchant of Philadelphia, Pa., 22-year-old Shapeace Goodwine of Roosevelt and 28-year-old Terry Green of Elmont.
They were all charged with riot and criminal contempt. They will be arraigned Saturday at the same courthouse where the fight broke out.
Authorities said 11 court officers were injured and one had to be treated at a local hospital.
Meanwhile, Pedro Merchant of North Valley Stream pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder. He was ordered held without bail.
Merchant was arrested Thursday following a week-long investigation into Quinones’ murder. Police said Quinones was shot several times outside a home on Dartmouth Street on September 11.