Mob-nificent Mile: “Large group” brings havoc back to Michigan Avenue; 4 battered, 1 arrest

Chicago police work to clear a mob from the McDonald’s at State and Chicago on Dec. 30th | @David2Chicago

At least four people were injured and CTA Red Line traffic was snarled as large groups of teens and young adults brought havoc to the Magnificent Mile on Saturday evening. One arrest was made.

Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd) tweeted at 7:47 p.m. that “Water Tower Place will be closing at 8 p.m. tonight due to mob action by large crowds of juveniles.”

The latest Mag Mile mob scene began around 5 p.m. when a victim reported being battered near the Red Line station at State and Chicago. A man was arrested in connection with that attack.

At the same time, employees of a nearby McDonald’s reported 50 teenagers fighting inside the restaurant at 10 East Chicago. After being pushed from the restaurant, the group headed to Water Tower Place, where a disturbance was reported on the second floor at 5:45 p.m.  Police estimated the crowd to be 50- to 60-strong.

Police moved the teens out of the mall and followed the group as it headed east toward the lake and then back to Water Tower, sparking widespread reports of assaults and fighting.

By 6:30 p.m. the mob began making its way back to the Red Line station at Chicago and State. The H&M store reported being struck by a large number of shoplifters and the McDonald’s again reported being overrun by the mob.

Once on the Red Line platform, members of the group began beating up people at random. Three people filed police reports for battery and an ambulance was summoned to treat the victims.

The Sun-Times reported

Yue Lei, 28, Chicago, was beaten by a group of teenagers about 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 29 while waiting for a train at the Chicago and State Red Line station. His glasses were broken and his hand, lip and eye were injured. 

No one was arrested in connection with the three latest attacks.

Southbound Red Line trains were delayed as the crowd made its way out of the area. One train conductor told CTA dispatchers that they did not feel safe moving their train because passengers were rocking the cars from side-to-side.

Saturday’s incident was the latest in a string of similar mob actions along the Magnificent Mile and inside Water Tower Place.

Other cases were reported in early May, on Memorial Day weekend,  and on Thanksgiving weekend.

Streeterville residents’ concern about the mob activity was a primary talking point during a Dec. 18th community meeting in which the Dave & Busters arcade-restaurant group announced plans to move into a 42,000-square-foot section of Water Tower Place.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has brushed off the incidents as “kids doing goofy things.”

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets.