ISLA VISTA, Calif. - The Isla Vista community is slowly returning to normal after a riot broke out during Saturday's 'Deltopia' street party. Police clashed with people in the streets. At least six law enforcement officers were hurt and dozens of people injured.
The day after Saturday's melee, students filed back into the streets assessing the damage. Some students tell NewsChannel 3 that they are outraged and upset about the riot that broke out. They say they don't want to held completely responsible for the chaos and place some of the blame on people who came into town from other areas. Troy Hoffman of Isla Vista said, "It was definitely outsiders. But, we're not free from blame either." Brett Shaver who came to 'Deltopia' from Oakland said, "You are not going to damage your own property if you live here."
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown spoke with NewsChannel 3 and says he's frustrated and disappointed about the violence directed towards law enforcement. Brown said, "It's something we haven't experienced here in Santa Barbara at least in the last 15 years."
The partying spiraled out of control into a full blown riot on Saturday night after an estimated 15 thousand people crowded into Isla Vista for "Deltopia'. Hoffman said, "Throughout the day, it was crazy. But, it was controlled chaos."
The trouble started brewing around 8 p.m. when officers responded to two stabbings on the 800 block of Camino Del Sur. At around 9:30 p.m., a UCSB police officer was hit in the head with a backpack full of liquor bottles while trying to arrest someone involved in a fight. Two deputies jumped in to help, but were also hit by flying objects. One was hit in the head with a brick. The other deputies' hand was slashed by a bottle. Brown said, "It's incredibly disturbing and frustrating when someone is trying to do their job and is assaulted in this manner."
The situation escalated and by 10:30 p.m., law enforcement declared an unlawful assembly. People tore down stop signs, destroyed a van, set mattresses on fire and continued to throw bottles, bricks and even cement chunks at officers. Law enforcement fired back with tear gas, flash bang grenades and rubber bullets. But, the crowd didn't back down. "Ego played into it too. People were like we're not gonna back down. We're not afraid of you," said Hoffman.
The hours long standoff and confrontation was centered around Camino Del Sur and Trigo Road. Just after midnight, law enforcement fired off the last found of tear gas. Eventually the crowd dispersed.
Sheriff Bill Brown plans to seek prosecution against those arrested. He also says investigators will look at video captured by newly installed surveillance cameras in Isla Vista. He says that evidence could lead to more arrests.
We reached out to UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang for a comment. His office provided NewsChannel 3 with the following statement:
"Deltopia" is an unsanctioned event that took place in the streets and private residences of a nearby community where many college-aged students, including some from UC Santa Barbara as well as Santa Barbara City College, choose to live during their studies. Unfortunately, it also draws large numbers from outside the Santa Barbara area who typically represent the largest percentage of arrests and citations during the event.
The unsanctioned event is a serious concern for the University as well as many Isla Vista residents. Although not in the jurisdiction of the University, we discourage student participation and work closely with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office to promote safety and provide policing support. In addition to contributing significant policing resources, the University also provides resources for lighting and security cameras in Isla Vista.
The actions of some the participants involved in last night's incidents were outrageous and extremely dangerous. Any of our students found to have violated the law or University policies are subject to University sanctions.
In the coming months we look forward to discussions with local government officials, law enforcement, Santa Barbara City College administration and our own students on ways to address the events of last night and hopefully prevent them from taking place in the future.
Finally, we are extremely grateful for the efforts of the law enforcement officers and safety teams who risk their own safety to protect the community - the Sheriff's Office, the UCPD, the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and other local law enforcement departments. Our thoughts go out to those officers who were injured last night and we wish for a quick recovery.