Huntington Beach City Council Holds Special Meeting After US Open Riots
HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA.com) — The mayor of Huntington Beach held a special city council meeting Tuesday as law enforcement continues to pursue suspects caught on camera in the Huntington Beach riots Sunday.
Increased police presence and limiting events on the beach at next year’s US Open of Surfing were among the suggestions discussed at the special meeting of the Huntington Beach City Council.
“I think the residents downtown have had enough, and we are really looking at you to help us solve this issue,” said resident Janice Hopkins.
Hundreds of residents and business owners told the council to keep the US Open of Surfing but cancel the free concerts and events.
“Many of the visitors get drunk on the drive down, dump their booze bottles on our streets, then go to a free venue to get free stuff and tear up the town,” said resident Kevin Reffe.
Councilman Jim Katapodis, a former LAPD sergeant, said he wants the city to fill the roughly 25 vacancies within the Huntington Beach Police Department. He also believes that increased police presence when an event is winding down could have affected the outcome Sunday.
“I think our mutual aid probably should come at that time, when we’re going to shut down the whole thing so that…people understand that we have a lot of police officers there and they don’t want to cause trouble,” Katapodis said.
Mutual aid refers to support from other local police departments. More than 200 local officers from 21 police departments were called to the scene Sunday.
Police continue to seek the public’s help in identifying an additional suspect who allegedly used a city stop sign to break a window of the Easyrider Bike Shop, which was then burglarized.
“We’re asking the public to look at this photo,” said Lt. Mitch O’Brien. “Someone knows this guy. Someone’s going to recognize him.”
Two city trucks and four police cars were also damaged, and police said 15 to 20 portable toilets were knocked over. Several police officers were also treated for minor injuries sustained from crowds throwing bottles and rocks at them.
Seven suspects were arrested in the incident, including one for assault with a deadly weapon, police said. Among those arrested was a Fullerton firefighter suspected of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.