Mall Of America Melee – The Mall of America is boosting security after videos of the melee were posted on YouTube showing people fighting, pushing and shoving in crowded areas on the day after Christmas, leading to a dozen arrests.
The incident was so bad that one video shows a chair being thrown as shoppers scatter to get out of the way. Some of the elderly couldn’t move that fast, as they tried to walk fast being stricken with panic, and that’s when several people were arrested.
The melee began in the north food court late Monday afternoon, according to Bloomington Police Cmdr. Mark Stehlik, and quickly spread to other areas of the mall.
“I don’t know if it was the same group of people that were moving through the mall and they had reassembled, or if it was separate groups of people,” said Stehlik. “But there were anywhere from 50 to 100 for sure.”
At least 10 different fights were reported. It took as many as 40 police officers and Mall of America security guards more than an hour to restore calm.
Stehlik said it’s not clear what led to the fights in the food court, but false rumors of an appearance by two famous rap artists may have attracted some teens to gather at the mall.
“We don’t know what sparked the first disturbance,” he said. “From there it just seemed to spread. So what really got it going we are not sure, and I don’t know if we ever will be.”
Damage to the mall was minimal and no serious injuries were reported, according to Mall of America spokesman Dan Jasper. Some stores voluntarily closed their doors, though the mall was not locked down and nobody was evacuated. There were no reports of stolen merchandise.
Jasper says more than 120,000 shoppers typically visit the Mall of America each day during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
“It’s sad that it happened, especially during the holiday shopping season,” said Jasper. “Families are out spending time together and it was not good.”
Here’s a video of the melee inside the mall.