Two people were slightly injured and 19 teens were arrested Saturday when a melee broke out at the Ford City Mall following a promotional appearance by the popular boy band Mindless Behavior, police said.
The band had recently concluded the event, catered to their primarily tween girl fan-base, when a “group of youths” entered the mall intent on creating “chaos and havoc,” said mall general manager, John Sarama, who claims the disturbance was not related to the event, which ended around 4 p.m.
Some of the teens ran through the mall. A planter box was broken. One boy threw a wad of about $100 in small bills into the air, causing those nearby to scramble for the cash.
In all, 19 boys and girls between ages 13 and 17 were charged with one misdemeanor count each, police News Affairs Officer Hector Alfaro said. One of the teens was charged for battery, and another was charged for criminal tresspass, he said. The rest face a single charge of mob action.
“I don’t understand what the purpose of that was other than it caused a bit more commotion,” Sarama said when asked about the money.
The mall was evacuated and police closed South Cicero Avenue to traffic in the vicinity of the West Lawn neighborhood mall, police said. Chicago Transit Authority buses were rerouted to avoid the area.
By the time it was all over several people were arrested, two were injured and a sizable force of police and paramedics had descended on the mall, according to authorities and Sarama.
Even after the mall was evacuated and the doors were locked, the chaos continued outside.
Mindless Behavior appeared at the mall, signing autographs to promote their upcoming release “All Around the World,” according to social media websites run by the band’s management.
The band’s manager Keisha Gamble did not respond to a request for comment.
“There was some sort of a rap group either performing or signing autographs and a large group of teens caused a disturbance,” said police News Affairs Officer Veejay Zala.
Sarama said he was just glad it was all over.
“Everything is fine and we’re looking forward to opening back up at 11 a.m. (Sunday),” Sarama said.
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