A birthday party invitation that went viral on the social media app TikTok drew hundreds of partygoers into Huntington Beach on Saturday evening, prompting large numbers of police officers from Huntington Beach and surrounding agencies to disperse crowds that authorities said became unruly.
Police made nearly 150 arrests. Of those, 121 were adults and 28 were juveniles, said Huntington Beach Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Carey.
Police are doing their best to block streets and keep party-goers in downtown Huntington Beach under control. The pop-up party started with a TikTok video invitation that went viral. https://t.co/bWYhx0t5ga pic.twitter.com/jrLsA1OhyP
— CBS Los Angeles (@CBSLA) May 23, 2021
They were booked on a variety of charges including vandalism, the firing of dangerous/illegal fireworks, failure to disperse, and curfew violations, Carey said.
Multiple downtown businesses, numerous police vehicles and a lifeguard tower were damaged, but no significant injuries were reported, she said.
Footage taken from the beach showed crowds dancing to music, taking videos, and launching fireworks to laughter and screams. There was also footage of officers ordering partygoers to leave the beach.
Later, officers dressed in riot helmets and armed with batons could be seen shoving an individual to the ground and placing that person in handcuffs.
Other footage showed more officers wearing riot helmets and armed with less-lethal firearms as they formed lines toward crowds that had gathered in the downtown area. Video on social media showed officers in some instances firing less-lethal weapons.
News video from the scene showed a police cruiser with shattered windows, it wasn’t immediately known how they were broken.
Police shut down Pacific Coast Highway from Beach Boulevard to Goldenwest Street, Carey said.
Dubbed Adrian’s Kickback, a crowd of at least 400 people began to gather as early as Friday evening around a lifeguard tower in Huntington Beach, said Lt. Brian Smith, spokesman for Huntington Beach police. When members of the crowd began to launch fireworks near the beach’s fire pits around 9 p.m. Friday, officers declared an unlawful assembly and the crowd dispersed.
Saturday evening drew an even larger crowd, with at least 1,000 people again gathering by the lifeguard towers and fire pits around 7 p.m., police said.
In a similar fashion, officers dispersed the crowd once partygoers began to climb atop a lifeguard tower and shot more fireworks. Dispersal orders were given at 7:13 p.m. near lifeguard tower 13.
Huntington Beach police called nearby agencies to send more officers to assist in monitoring the large crowds that made their way toward the pier and downtown area, Smith said. An unlawful assembly was declared and an “emergency curfew” was ordered for downtown due to unruly crowds from 11:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Sunday.
Unlawful assembly has been declared in #HuntingtonBeach due to unruly crowds. An emergency curfew has been put into place effective 5/22 at 11:30pm through 5/23 at 5:30am for all individuals within the downtown area.
— Huntington Beach PD (@HBPD_PIO) May 23, 2021
Fire paramedics were called to the area for at least several medical calls, said Huntington Beach fire Battalion Chief Jeff Lopez, who did not immediately have details on the extent of any injuries.
Huntington Beach police noted Saturday on the department’s Twitter account that “As is the case with ALL large gatherings in Huntington Beach, we have taken steps to prepare for a potential increase in visitors this weekend due to a promoted gathering that has received significant interest on social media.”
The department warned the visitors there should be no alcohol or drug use on the beach and no fireworks, and noted it was “taking significant steps to prepare for the potential influx of visitors, including working closely with our regional public safety partners. Toward that end, the HBPD will also be strictly enforcing all applicable laws & ordinances throughout the weekend.”
The party began with a now-deleted video posted on TikTok from user adrian.lopez517, which invited people to his birthday party at the beach’s fire pits at 7:30 p.m. on May 22. The post urged people to “BYOE,” or, “bring your own everything.” Since then, the hashtag “AdriansKickBack” amassed 182.6 million views on the app.
The invitation enticed people from across California and other states to attend the party. One group of partiers told TV news reporters they had traveled from Stockton. A user on TikTok said he flew in from Detroit to join the party.
All because of whatever this is: https://t.co/fGYapWByJz
— Shane B. Murphy (@shanermurph) May 23, 2021
— FOX 11 Los Angeles (@FOXLA) May 23, 2021
Officers remained in the area to clear the gatherings late into the evening.
Source: Orange County Register