A weekend Santa Barbara riot has left one police officer with serious injuries, according to the LA Times. A party near UC Santa Barbara turned into a violent riot and one of the responding officers was struck in the head. Five other law enforcement officials were injured, though none seriously.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said the riot came out of the Deltopia spring break party. Though there were 15,000 people at the party, it’s not clear how many were involved in the riot.
After the riot broke out around 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, Santa Barbara riot officers responded at the scene. The officer seriously injured in the riot is with the UC Santa Barbara police. He was hit in the head with a backpack that was full of bottles of alcohol.
The blow to the Santa Barbara officer’s head caused a serious head injury.
It took several hours to make arrests, during which time the riot continued and the people involved threw bricks, bottles, rocks and other objects at Santa Barbara law enforcement officials. No other serious injuries were reported.
When the situation was declared an “unlawful assembly” by Santa Barbara police, it escalated into an emergency situation. Law enforcement officers from Santa Barbara and Ventura County arrived on the scene to help the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office contain the riot.
Law enforcement officials said they did use chemical agents and foam projectiles were used to break up the riot.
NPR’s Monica Lopez also reported that Santa Barbara and deputies used tear gas and rubber bullets to restore order.
A total of at least five Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies were injured during the riot. One deputy was hit in the face with a brick and two were hit in the hands with bottles.
About 44 people were taken from the riot area to local hospitals, and more than 100 were arrested. Some were taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning.
Several law enforcement vehicles and stop signs were also damaged during the riot.
The spring break party is an annual event in Santa Barbara, but this year organizers had tried to keep things more low-key. The lack of live entertainment combined with a massive crowd that was fueled by word of mouth over social media could have also contributed to the larger than normal crowd.
One party-goer who was interviewed by Southern California Public Radio, KPCC, said that he thought people from out of town had contributed to the Santa Barbara riot.