Three people were arrested Saturday night when a melee that a police spokesman described as a "mini-riot" broke out in downtown Minneapolis after a teen dance party.

Dozens of police officers from Minneapolis, the State Patrol and other law enforcement agencies responded to a chaotic scene after the Big Bash 2 party, which was held in an exhibition hall next to the Hyatt Regency Hotel at 1300 Nicollet Mall.

At about 10 p.m., police responded to a report that hotel security employees were fighting with event-goers, said police spokesman Sgt. William Palmer. Shortly after that, partygoers began moving north on Nicollet Mall, throwing patio furniture from restaurants into the street and getting into confrontations with people they encountered.

Several large fights broke out within the group, which eventually congregated in the area of S. 10th Street and Nicollet, blocking the intersection.

"Because of the size of the crowd and the hostile nature, [police] took a proactive stance to prevent further issues," Palmer said.

Officers responded to the scene in riot gear, and pepper spray was used on some people. Three people were arrested, including someone who punched an officer in the face, Palmer said.

The party of more than 1,000 teens was ended early at about 10 p.m. by promoters, who said they thought police were too aggressive with partygoers idling outside.

"We want everyone to come out and mingle with each other," said Brayshaun Gibson, 19, head coordinator for Soe N The Clouds Entertainment, which threw the event.

In April, there was a similar occurrence at the first Big Bash at the Radisson hotel at the University of Minnesota, and police entered and used pepper spray then, too, Gibson said. "I would like more cooperation from the Minneapolis police instead of miscommunication," he said.

Saturday's situation was serious enough to call for assistance from officers on horseback, the patrol, and officers from Metro Transit and the University of Minnesota.

Chris Glowacki, who called 911 about 10 p.m. after seeing the fight out of his apartment window, said hundreds of people pouring out of the exhibition hall scattered when police arrived. "It was crazy," he said.

It took about a half hour for things to calm down, said another witness. Property damage was minimal, Palmer said.

Nicole Norfleet • 952-707-9995