Riot in downtown Santa Cruz

What happened in downtown Santa Cruz Saturday night almost defies words. Obviously, much will be discussed after this, including who the rioters are, what it will take to arrest them, and why police were not monitoring the “event” from the outset. I don’t know the answers, but I’m sure the questions are going to get asked.

The video posted here isn’t attributed — which means I don’t know who took it, or why. All I know is that it was posted on YouTube and it tells a disturbing story. Make your own conclusions.

Obviously, as our story posted tonight details, people are extremely upset. Once it started, cops were outnumbered and had to call for backup around the county. But how did it start? I had a family member downtown Saturday night at a movie and she said leaving Santa Cruz around 10 pm she saw a large crowd of youths, “emos,” gathered at the Town Clock. But otherwise, she said, nothing all that unusual. Within half an hour, however, some in the crowd went on a rampage.

More bad news for downtown and just a senseless and stupid assault on small business owners who are already having a hard go of it.  What happened also is a reminder that tolerance long ago passed any sense of limits regarding what goes on in the city. With the recent gang killings, this leaves people even more unsettled.

Leadership  gave the right answers Sunday. Enough is enough.

Strange days and nights in Santa Cruz.

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26 Responses to Riot in downtown Santa Cruz

  1. Bob says:

    It says, “police arrived 35-40 minutes after the first acts of violence.”

    Wow, nice to know they take their job seriously.

  2. Lucas says:

    At what point do people start thinking a little more conservative and a little less liberal?

  3. jonathan says:

    @lucas, yeah, because conservatives never do violence.

  4. Robert says:

    It is no longer about liberal or conservative. This is about people with a total lack of respect for the rights of other’s or their personal property. The people responsible for this damage need to be made an example of if and when they are aprehended. This is a case of domestic terrorism and the consequences need to be much more severe than a slap on the wrist.

  5. kat says:

    What I dont understand is this. On the westside of SC in the last two weeks we have had a teen murdered by a gang member, another young adult shot by a gang member, a bunch of gang kids arrested at Natural Bridges for drugs and guns and a daytime armed robbery. And now this. Wake up Santa Cruz. Why would you allow 200 people to assemble in the evening hours on a Saturday night downtown with minimum supervision? Following the wake of violence here, I would think closer monitoring would be essential. Think about the damage that could have happened if people pulled out guns and knives and started wreaking that kind of havoc downtown. Would the police still have taken an hour? People could have been very seriously hurt. The property damage is bad enough. So whats the deal, we should all just sit home in our houses and make sure our teenage youth come right home from school and “dont make any eye contact” with all the thugs that seem to be taking over? Maybe Santa Cruz is just too soft and isnt able to handle this hardcore crime element that has emerged. As a taxpayer, I like to think that a response to a majorily violent incident downtown isnt going to take an hour. Should we all start carrying guns to protect ourselves and our families?

    I think the use of common sense is appropriate in these challenging times. Common sense would dicate close monitoring of this event that took place in our downtown, on one of the busiest nights of the week. And if we dont have the people to do the monitoring, then perhaps we should hire some security and privatize part of our public safety in order to hold down the costs of overtime here.

    Definitely time for the police to monitor that cafe where the flyers were posted that talked about creating mayhem downtown. They used that language in the flyers posted in the cafe.

  6. Ernest says:

    I am appalled. Life long S.C. resident, (30+ years). I am a self proclaimed bleeding heart left wing liberal, more comfortable with socialism/social democracy than anything else. However, this sort of thing, as well as the recent and continually growing gang violence, has me so upset, depressed and outraged. These people are at best ignorant jerks with zero respect for even the things that they, “believe” in. I have zero patience for people of this ilk and I cannot even say what I find myself hoping happens to them. As far the “Sub-Rosa” cafe goes, the proprietor should REALLY take a deep inward look and re-think the way that he/she does business. Santa Cruz is in the midst of some serious ……… We all need to come together and put a halt to the direction that things are taking.

  7. Ellen says:

    Punk violence — gang violence — what do you expect when the city supervisors claim that SC is a sanctuary city? The Rule of Law is gone and, should this hooliganism continue, so will businesses and tourism and…a further increase in unemployment and pan handlers.

  8. Jeff says:

    Rule of law…thug mentality…conservative vs liberal…I can’t help but wonder what is happening in our society to trigger such a response. I mean, it could be that as more and more people believe that the system is failing them and there are fewer opportunities, there could be an increase in this type of violence. Higher education is moving back to being an option for only the wealthy, and the fat cats at the top of the banking industries are still getting huge bonuses. With these messages, anarchy may seem like the only means to express frustration with our lopsided society.

  9. will says:

    i am an owner of a downtown business, i struggle daily to make ends meat and make sure that my employees are taken care of…people are already scared of downtown and now this…why target innocent business and employees…i will be forced to lay off several people to pay for damages…i am seriously considering just closing…

  10. Ozzie says:

    Just keep drinking that leftist Socialist-Marxist tainted kool-aid! Liberal-Land is a great safe tollerant place to live!

  11. Ozzie says:

    Ernest, don’t you think it might be time to reconsider your political mindset and ideology?

    Take an educated and open minded look at fiscal conservatism, read and follow the Constitution and the Rule of Law , personal and moral responsibility, and hard work!

  12. Stephen says:

    Keep up the Liberal versus Right Wing etc.

    That is how a society stays divided and allows those that care little about left vs right to run amok.

    I am sure that gangsters have political debates before shooting people.

    I am sure that the self proclaimed anarchists are making sure they choose a side.

    Randi Rhodes had a great statement the other day. The left vs right has become a money generating meida circus while the majority of centrists Americans are ignored.

    I don’t like what is going on in Santa Cruz in last several years. I even moved away from being close to downtown because of more and more crime.

  13. Sean K says:

    I agree Stephen. Enough of this ideological b.s. The conservatives were not causing pandemonium in Florida during the 2000 election battle? Were those liberals pounding on doors forcing their way into vote counts? Do liberals scream hate at gays or at women looking to get an abortion?

    OK ideology aside, the next issue is that taxpayers demand answers. Have you looked at the tax base recently? Have you seen what budget cuts have done to our city government and services? Yet we continue to keep Santa Cruz small, and Weird, and any business that could increase our tax base gets chased out of town. Fine. Keep it small. But keep in mind that, in these times, your emergency services are included too.

    Finally, part of stopping this problem is understanding it. I think they everyone, myself included, who saw the town clock event thought “great… another drum circle/dance fest/hippy fest”. However, the video demonstrates that the people who perpetrated these acts were organized. I think there is evidence that these people organized the May Day event as a cover for what would transpire later. I don’t think these folks are one and done.

    What can we do? We can put pressure on our governments (city/county) to develop a plan for future gatherings/protests. As a community, we can choose not to attend events which are not planned/sponsored/promoted by a known entity. We can talk more with one another. If we get the ball rolling and some positive energy follows… we may come across a unique and “weird” solution which just happens to be successful… and that other communities can follow.

  14. RobtA says:

    Don, if you have been monitoring the online Topix comments, you know that they have been wild and rowdy throughout. Some of the prominent regular posters, including myself, quickly realized that this was NOT one of those “immigrants rights” parades gone sour, but something else. This, no matter what may be our political views regarding legal or illegal immigrants.

    That hasn’t stopped the less-regular name callers from chiming in, a group that includes both those who detest group W and those who detest group H.

    I have no sympathy, because the underling mentality of leftist political correctness is based on vengeance for real or imaginary past wrongs, and the grouping of innocents along with the guilty according to factors such as race. It is an eye for an eye, and as Ghandi supposedly noted, we are all blind.

    If local Mexicans are being wrongly blamed for a Santa Cruz riot that was likely caused by non-Hispanic “anarchists(?)”, even as the real immigration march (plus Cinco de Mayo party) went on rather peacefully in Watsonville, the mentality is no different from blaming ME or YOU because some unrelated person did something wrong a century ago, and we happen to be of the same race.

    Whew, that was a long sentence! In any case, I am confident of my own guiltlessness, and resent the use of terms such as “white privilege.” If any of the local progressives are guiltless too, then I invite them to speak up on their own behalves, or admit their personal guilt.

  15. Jan says:

    Excuse me Sean but I have to call you on your political rhetoric!!!!! It wasn’t conservatives or liberals running through that crowd smashing windows and trying to knock people over. Get off your political podium. This was a few “punks” that felt empowered by their ski masks. That is not conservatism or liberalism. That is just plain yellow bellied cowardice!!!!! I hope they catch these guys and they spend time in jail(maybe we should send them to AZ and they can spend time in pink jumpsuits in tents in the hot AZ sun!!!)

  16. Peter says:

    The videographer has been identified as Wesley Modes. One cannot help but wonder if he was directing, too.

  17. Brigid says:

    Who has identified the videographer has Wesley Modes?

    The blogger/videographer identifies himself as a USCS student named Prescott.

  18. Sean K says:

    Jan,
    You are not excused. Did you read one sentence and then assume the rest of my comments? I did not go on a political rant. I merely tried to point out (unlike some other posters) that this was NOT about left vs. right.. and that both sides are capable of violent/aggressive behavior.

    Four sentences later… I said “Ideology aside…” and then promoted that we get to the bottom of this. And threw out some ideas for discussion. And i finished it by saying we need to talk as a community. That is a dialogue. So if you are interested in a dialogue… please listen… read (but read everything not a sentence or two…) otherwise all you are doing is a little self-gratification in a public arena… and you’re not helping.

  19. SC native says:

    Let’s leave politics out of this for a moment. The clear problem here is the Santa Cruz police department. The only conclusion we can draw is that they are either too lazy, weak, cowardly or incompetent to protect the people of Santa Cruz any longer.

    Everyone I know who lives downtown either bought a gun after the second gang killing last week or, after the police-free Saturday night riot, is now buying one. I’m not pro-gun myself, but I have been checking out the Mossberg 12-gauge home defense shotgun they have at Outdoor World… If the police are too weak to protect us then we will have to protect ourselves.

  20. Sean K says:

    Yikes. So now we’re promoting arming ourselves? And what do you propose that the five on-duty police officers do when faced with a giant mob? They waited for backup. From different agencies in the area, including the CHP. Instead of blaming the police, let’s work to get them and the city council more proactive before you or they have to shoot someone.

  21. Hopeington says:

    This was a set up.
    They came masked!!?? As a 40 year resident of Santa Cruz, and I’m furious this happened here!!.
    The only crowd participation I see is people trying to stop them!!
    It seems obvious by the way they would commit the crime and then run ahead into the unsuspecting crowd before they struck again and then repeated the same actions. Always being sure to be around people who had no idea what had just happened behind them. Disgusting punks!
    And the camera person???
    I’ve filmed for years, including downtown SC rallies.
    It was difficult to follow their every move and they even filmed ahead as if in anticipation of the next assault.??? How’d they do that?
    And then…. whoever was arrested was from Fresno,
    not from Santa Cruz area at all!!
    Bussed in to do this
    This video makes it obviously clear that this was a set up and nothing to do with the gathering. Without this video , they could spin it and say that it was workers rights and illegal immigrant supporters going wild,
    when, fortunately, the facts now prove it was just a handful of
    low life idiot criminals on a rampage.

  22. Iconoclast says:

    Why did this happen in Santa Cruz and not in Watsonville, Salinas, Monterey or King City? Because SC has been too tolerant for too long with all manner of “alternate” lifestyles. The line needed to be drawn years ago. Straight is OK, Gay and Lesbian is OK, Transgender is OK. All relationships based upon voluntary, peaceful exchange are to be encouraged. But what the opinion-shapers of Surf City neglected to do, was to speak out against all uses of violence as a means to an end. The libertarian creed of “..I ceretify that I do not advocate the use of force as a means of achieving political and/or social goals…” is one that SC residents would do well to heed.

  23. KindlingMaker says:

    Isn’t ultra-tolerance grand?

    This is the direct result of SC’s inaction against the verminous bums that essentially live on Pacific Ave.
    I live just 40 miles away but I stopped going there years ago.

  24. Eye-mazing says:

    While I am totally against violence, I can understand the absolute frustration of being powerless…and living in a society which promotes it by undercutting education and social services. Even those who pay a ton of taxes know most of it will eventually be considered credit to be used by rogue republican presidents who say they are “conservative” but then blow it all on unnecessary violence in other countries. Gee, look at our role models… I’m against this but, boy, I am not surprised it happened.

  25. all you will see on CNN/FOX?Shamestream media is tea party people falsely accused of spitting

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