Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It is promoted as the biggest “16-plus” party in the state, but the party turned violent last Saturday night, sending hundreds of teenagers into the streets of downtown Minneapolis.
During the incident, fights inside the Hyatt Hotel spilled outside and down Nicollet Mall. The teenagers were coming from the “Big Bash 2,” the second in a series of parties geared towards the 16-plus crowd.
Police called it a “mini-riot” and one officer got punched in the face.
“It’s really discouraging when we see that happen,” said Ricky Collins.
Collins, 19, is one of three teen organizers of the Big Bash. He says it’s a handful of teenagers who are causing the problem.
“It was some clique from St. Paul and some clique from Minneapolis, and that’s who started fighting,” said Collins.
Seventy to 80 officers helped control the crowd.
It was the second time police have been called to clear a Big Bash party at a hotel ballroom. Last April, it was the Big Bash one, held at the Radisson on the University of Minnesota campus.
“Obviously, as you can see, it keeps getting messed up and shining a bad light on us and we’re not trying to be in that light. We’re trying to do something positive,” said Collins. “We just need to get more people involved, like MAD DADS and any other community advocates that want to be involved.”
Some feel the party invite set the wrong tone: “No ID, no problem, just pay two more dollars and you’re in.”
“That might be something that we need to change,” said Collins.
Collins says the two parties have been a learning experience. He said he’ll now use special invites for the next party to help control the crowd.
Police are glad no one was seriously hurt, but they have concerns now that they’ve learned about the big bash 18-plus edition, which planned for next week.
“We are aware of it and licensing, Minneapolis Licensing, is aware of it also,” said Lt. Henry Halvorson with the Minneapolis Police.
Police arrested three people during Saturday’s mini-riot. One is charged with hitting the police officer we mentioned. The other two are accused of robbing a woman behind the hotel.