A series of disturbance calls over the course of several hours Monday evening at the Mall of America led to 10 arrests, Bloomington police said.
Skirmishes broke out in the third-floor food court area after 6 p.m. and officers made the arrests for alleged offenses ranging from disorderly conduct, obstruction of the legal process and providing false information to police.
No one was injured and no property damage was reported, according to police.
But witnesses described the scene that unfolded just after 6 p.m. as “chaotic” with people running and chanting.
Cody Bergren, 24, of Minneapolis, and his girlfriend had just arrived for an evening of dining and shopping and felt that “the vibe was just off,” he said Tuesday. The couple was on the second floor making their way to an upper-level food court when he heard commotion. As he tried to get on an escalator, it was promptly shut down. Other escalators on the mall’s east side surrounding the rotunda also were shut down.
He took an elevator to the third floor where he saw a group of 20 to 30 teens and adults forming and chanting something he could not understand. Security guards on the third floor attempted to direct people out of the mall and at one point placed trash cans in front of the third floor elevator to prevent others from joining the crowd, Bergren said.
“People were screaming. A security guard told me there was nothing to be concerned about,” Bergren said. “A second security guard told me a lot of kids were fighting. The vibe felt off when the escalators started shutting down and a big group was forming.”
Bergren said he didn’t see any fights, but left after about 15 minutes.
“Mall of America security and Bloomington Police took the appropriate actions to control yesterday’s events immediately so business would not be disrupted,” the mall said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. “The safety and security of our guests, employees and tenants remains our top priority.”
Neither mall officials nor police have said what might have sparked the fights.
Last December, more than 100 officers, mostly from the Bloomington Police Department, were called to the Mall of America when Black Lives Matter protesters descended on the retail center. The mall filed a lawsuit against Black Lives Matter, which it later dropped. The year before, also in December, a Black Lives Matter protest ended with 25 arrests.