Installment One: Labor Day Beach Riots

September 6, 2007 2 Comments

This is the first of three installments of my moderating the Cafe San Diego
Installment OneInstallment TwoInstallment Three

What bothers me most about the Labor Day riot in Pacific Beach is that people seem to forget some details. That is, I understand the lifeguards asked the police for help because they thought things were getting out of control. Then, regardless of what transpired — as I’ve heard different variations — nothing justifies anyone throwing anything at any Police Officer, ever!

This very fact, that people were throwing things at officers, indicates to me that things are out of control. If the officer on the ATV was right or wrong about supposedly detaining the individual time will tell. We don’t know if he was holding this person because he was too drunk or, if he was holding him for further questioning — ideally taking him to a better location to check him out.

To me, this all doesn’t matter. This self-righteous indignation that so many people are justifying is just a disguise. People were throwing things at the police because they thought they could do so without getting caught. I believe they were doing it because they were too drunk to think any better.

So, what gives? Why are so many people attacking the police when in fact they could be attacking the people that were assaulting our police officers?

Reader Comments

Crown Point Resident wrote on September 6, 2007 1:22 PM:
“People got out of control. This was bound to happen with the free flow of alcohol on our beaches. Kudos to Kevin Faulconer for taking a string stance on this issue.”

King Tone wrote on September 6, 2007 1:49 PM:
“I was hoping the police would go into the crowd with Billy clubs and cattle prods. I wanted to see them serve the public good with some old fashion street justice. You throw a bottle; I break your nose and then knee you in the face. All those filthy kids from PB need to get their heads knocked in and wake up. In the real world, getting what you want is for babies, not adults. I can not wait to see all those fools wake up one day, realize they are 40 years old and it isn’t cool to be a pool man or beach tramp anymore. Ban the booze, clean up the trash and save PB. How many smutty girls with guts, thunder thighs and g-string bikinis can one take? And don’t get me started on the tattoos aka tramp stamps.”

KirkH wrote on September 6, 2007 2:46 PM:
“The simple math is that it’s cheaper to revoke the rights of every citizen than it is to supply sufficient police patrols to keep things in order. That people don’t seem to mind the erosion of their rights doesn’t surprise me in this day and age. So PB will probably lose its appeal as a beach destination for the under 30 crowd, and many of the businesses on Garnett and Grand will shut down, homeowners rejoice. “So, what gives? Why are so many people attacking the police when in fact they could be attacking the people that were assaulting our police officers?” Look at the congressional approval ratings. People are fed up with government in all shapes and forms, left and right. When people get harassed on the beach for smoking a cigarette you can’t expect that everybody will respect the role of police.”

Billy Bob Henry wrote on September 6, 2007 3:15 PM:
“Jerry, you and your goody two shoes should hit the road if you dont like PB. It is a beach community, and has high density, and with that high density comes problems that are due to the high debsity. So get off your high horse and put a cork in your soap box preaching. What are you going to tell us next, that people should not be sommitting murders or robberies?? Thank you for pointing out the obvious.”

Larry”Darkman&quo wrote on September 6, 2007 3:56 PM:
“I was raised in PB and love the beach area, have not lived there for a few yeaes now and part of the reason is the drunk idiots I would have to contend with, if I did move back. Part of the reason I stay where I am is at 2am in the morning, I can sleep and not be woken up by some drunk idiot coming home from the bar. I would like to see the beach area cleaned up a bit, make it a nice place to go again. This is the first I heard of the Beach Riots and I can say witout a doubt that the alcohol was most likely the problem.”

clothes make the man wrote on September 6, 2007 8:29 PM:
“Its worth noting that police wear uniforms for a purpose beyond being comfortable; when you outfit a squad in shorts, making them look like little schoolboys on break from Leeds, you aren’t exactly engendering respect. Five hundred people apparently can riot on a beach without consequence – bet none of them had a trowel in their hands. Oh, the humanity – both law and law breakers dreaming of the endless summer forever; c’mon baby suck your thumb!”

Red wrote on September 7, 2007 12:11 AM:
“First of all the problem is not alcohol. The problem is people with no respect for anyone including themselves and that is PREVELANT in San Diego. The me me me mentality is what is ruining this town not alcohol. Since I arrived here in 1992 you have been able to drink on the beach …not something that I care to do, although I do drink, so I am not supporting nor condemning here but things have never been like this before. Why can we not support a designated drinking area…like the old Street Scene setup. So on big holidays X amount of people can pay for a wristband to enter a corralled area where they can be served alcohol. I have run out of space and will continue further down……..”

BBH Fan wrote on September 7, 2007 12:14 AM:
“I just love reading BBH entries!! Keep up the good work!”

Red wrote on September 7, 2007 1:01 AM:
“COnt..Banning drinking on the beach is like putting a band aid on a society of selfish self centered people that will just go elsewhere and still do the same thing. Unfortunately we cannot change people, the only thing we have control over are the laws so I guess banning alcohol will be the consequence. However Jerry you do state in your blog that “I believe they were doing it because they were too drunk to think any better” and I feel you should KNOW they were drunk before you accuse. People are sick of a few “bent” power happy cops that dont treat civilians with any respect and maybe these stupid people had had bad experiences with cops..NO EXCUSE but cops also need to clean up their acts….TO SERVE AND PROTECT..not abuse power, scare and harass. Riot is a rather exaggerated word Jerry..only the Brits know how to riot!”

Unbelievable wrote on September 7, 2007 1:25 AM:
“The way American society particularly southern california youth completely disregard the Truth and seek only selfish momentary satisfaction is testimony. To what you ask? Lack; lack of accountability (by family, friends and even piers) where is the love? Lack of lack, we have everything at our fingertips and it’s practicaly FREE. Free of cost with parents just handing over anything thier son or daughter desires. free of consequences, free of responsibility, free of accountability. I think it’s interesting, frightening rather, when the FREEDOM is what entices, entrances and finally entraps. GOD help us.”

Larry wrote on September 7, 2007 1:35 AM:
“Ban it already. Every other responsible city has done so. Let the idiots drink elsewhere. And if cleaning up PB means that a few tatoo parlors and bars and liquor stores close up, so much the better.”

D wrote on September 7, 2007 1:44 AM:
“I missed the part in the video of the “riot” where the copper on the ATV, as Red put it, abused his power, scared and harrassed the drunk fools, I mean law abiding gentlemen making small talk by the ocean, into pushing shoving kicking and punching each other. And there currently is a designated drinking area in PB. It’s called the beach. You know, the part between the sea wall and the water. Its about as corralled as you can get. So it seems that great plan of yours already doesn’t work. The reast of your post and some others are just juvenile rants against police. Pathetic.”

ReenaK wrote on September 7, 2007 2:07 AM:
“Wow-what a lot of anger here. I am in favor of the booze ban. People are saying oh it’s only a few problem people and only holidays. The fact is the few are those who do just go to the beach and have a beer or 2. I have lived in PB since 1991 and am a homeowner here. I have seen the situation with booze at the beach deteriorate over the years to the point that led to the Labor Day events. I was down there around noon that day. What I saw was not people who were there to enjoy the beach but people packed into cabanas shoulder to shoulder all drinking. I understand that some of these were pay parties and not just groups of friends getting together. Families are totally not able to enjoy a wide area of the beach south of the pier. Cont’d…”

ReenaK wrote on September 7, 2007 2:13 AM:
“Contd- The fact that a huge portion of our city’s police and paramedics are tied up regularly to control the out of control drinkers is disgraceful. My concern is for people in other areas who need police and have to wait to be attended because the police are wrassling drunks at the beach. Let’s try a total ban for 2 years and review the statistics. Drinking on the beach is a privelige not a right. Unfortunately it’s a privelige that has been abused to the point of no return.”

MarZ. wrote on September 7, 2007 3:09 AM:
“Thinking the police action was a significnat part of the scenario at Reed is just a diversion from the true issue. Reality is, that anyone who has spent anytime at the beach in PB has seen that mentality of the folks that indeed are ruining a freedom for everyone by their lack of respect for any and all around them (this case lawenforcement). A combo of alcohol speaking and the mind set of the people who abuse a public place for there own idiotic group mentality is the crux. This incident is a turning point for many who have been on the fence on this. A PB resident for 28 yrs,many times having enjoyed the freedom of a drink on the beach, but now willing to give up that freedom to bring civility back home to a place I love.”

Jerry Hall wrote on September 7, 2007 3:22 AM:
“Red – I’ve never seen people all jacked up on iced tea start throwing things at police officers. To say alcohol wasn’t the issue (in my terms they were drunk but, this can read: under the influence) I believe is naive and denial. I too am sorry that the few are ruining it for the many but, that’s life. In regards to the designated drinking area, we already have those – they’re called bars. Here employees are usually trained on identifying phony ID’s, over-served patrons etc. And there’s usually trained staff to oversee the crowd. With such large crowds as currently come to the beach I believe the City simply couldn’t afford, even if we weren’t in an economic crisis, to protect such large unruly crowds under the influence or drunk. Maybe that’s why so many other major cities have eliminated beach drinking.”

KirkH wrote on September 7, 2007 3:47 AM:
“Here’s an idea. People buy sports cars because they drive too fast. We should outlaw the ownership of sports cars which are dangerous, loud, and traffic cops are expensive waste of taxpayer money. Also, most of the DUIs and accidents in PB are after midnight. So we should ban driving after midnight. It will drop the number of accidents to zero almost instantly. Hey, if you’re not doing anything wrong then why would you even care? You could argue that some people have a beer on the beach without causing trouble so the same logic applies to sports car owners that drive slow. The fact that they’re not breaking any laws is irrelevant.”

Donald Reno wrote on September 7, 2007 4:24 AM:
“I am a San Diego Native and have lived in the Beach Area or within 3 miles of it for 58 years and the only thing different now is millions of more people – when I was 20 we had rip roaring Keg party’s at the Beach but there was hardly anyone around to Complain – Times have Changed there is not the open room anymore to be able to have huge Drink Fests without offending someone and then the Police are involved and Drunk young People and Police do not mix well – The Time has come to Ban all Liquor consumption during Holidays in San Diego at it’s City Beaches – If not than we can expect many more incidents in the Future – Just one San Diegan’s Opinion”

Red wrote on September 7, 2007 5:31 AM:
“Response to D: Juvenile? Im not the one on the beach too busy earning a living! Did you actually read my post or do you have ADD. Perhaps if you re-read correctly and entirely what I wrote you would understand that I was not referring to the cops on the beach that day to quote “and maybe these stupid people had had bad experiences with cops..NO EXCUSE but cops also need to clean up their acts….TO SERVE AND PROTECT..not abuse power, scare and harass. ..FYI I was referring to cops that abuse their positions…I would discuss a case but it is currently under investigation and therefore I cannot discuss it further at this point. Perhaps I should have said SOME cops..not all COPS to clarify myself. Respect is the bottom line and the majority of young San Diegans dont have ANY. I dont understand your “gentlemen” comment???”

Red wrote on September 7, 2007 5:32 AM:
“Response to Jerry: I have seen perfectly sober people start fights and you know perfectly sober people that have…of course alcohol plays a part in this issue..of course it does but unless i am completely crazy my point was people’s extreme lack of self respect…if you put the same hooligans in a bar they will still be hooligans…alcohol or not. Another point was..if people want to drink on the beach….let them pay for the priviledge.”

Billy Bob Henry wrote on September 7, 2007 5:33 AM:
“MarZ. if you cant handle PB, I have the perfect solution for you and Jerry-MOVE. You are under no obligation to stay in a place you don’t like.”

Jerry Hall wrote on September 7, 2007 6:09 AM:
“Red – I get your points. I too believe it’s a matter of personal responsibility. I think Donald made it clear too that the area is very congested, getting worse every year, and that having alcohol-free beaches is just a necessity. Others have talked about a permit system where someone can be held accountable for groups, as well as having to pay for the ability to drink that day. It seems that would be very difficult to administer since we have such big crowds and so many different groups (i.e. parties of 2-3). Billy Bob you’ve been consistent with your suggestion of moving (running) from PB if one doesn’t like the situation. Should everyone just move if they don’t like it? If there weren’t concerned citizens and cops looking out for people you don’t think it would be anarchy? Are you pro-anarchy?”

Omni-potent wrote on September 7, 2007 6:23 AM:
“BBH- surprised you found time away from your usual blind obsession to post anything else- at least you are obnoxious in a variety of discussions. Anywho, Ban It. Regardless of alcohol being the cause, or if it attracts a certain lawless type, its simply no fun. Do we want to be Daytona? A destination for underage drinking and partying? Woo-hoo! No. Ban it, and let them drink elsewhere. If it moves inland, fine. At least there are bouncers to pound aspiring alcoholics and losers into jelly- not our officers (reduce liability). Quite simply, it isn’t fun and the economic benefit from alcohol sales no longer outweighs the harm.”

MissMinnie wrote on September 7, 2007 6:50 AM:
“How about this: make the beach alcohol free, AND set up a random DUI checkpoint every Thursday/Friday/Sat night in PB to catch all the drunk drivers that cause so much trouble and noise. If the partiers know the City has checkpoints set up, maybe they would be more responsible drinkers and drivers, and the people who live here will be able to sleep at night, without the sounds of car crashes, screeching tires and constant sirens AND it will be a better use of our tax dollars.”

Billy Bob Henry wrote on September 7, 2007 7:14 AM:
“Omni-impotent-thank you for setting me straight on my focus. I will get back to railing against the overpensioned HS grads very soon. As for your statement that [it] attracks the lawless type…hmm….very interesting, if not factually baseless, statement. If my 16 year old neighbor drives his Camero 100 MPH down the street, do I say BAN all cars because of his acts??? No. You take care of the sppeder, same goes fo rthe ebaches-you take care of the drunks. Easy fix. I am sick and tired of other people telling me that I cannot engage in a legal act (even though I don’t personally drink alcohol) because they don’t agree with it. Slippery slope, pretty soon there will be no frisbee throwing, no horseshoes and no playing in the surf, because Jerry might not be able to enjoy himself or have a good time, might interfer with his fun.”

Jerry Hall wrote on September 7, 2007 9:49 AM:
“Well BBH it’s good to know you’re consistent. MissMinnie – PB had two checkpoints on a Friday (8/24) and a Saturday (9/1) and yielded a record on Friday of 24 DUI’s and another record 27 on Saturday. 51 drunk drivers – who could potentially kill you and me out on the road. How many DUI’s didn’t they catch? My guess is many, many more. Wonder how any of you feel driving on PB streets at 1 a.m. or, if you would recommend your family and friends do the same? But, it’s ok for the rest of us to have to risk that danger? Thank God this isn’t BillyBob Country – I think there’d be a lot fewer of us.”

Spaceman of PB wrote on September 7, 2007 11:24 AM:
“So many riots, so few beaches; I remember a Queensrhyche show in ’87, re-live it every day… good times. Stumble back to my bungalow on Garnet, the one my mom left me, gettin my SSI from my construction in-jury… good times. Oh, but, I hate the government! good thing i got my prop 13 taxes. Oh, but, I hate the law! good thing i got my mexican gardner! gimme my crystal dude – let take apart the El Camino! – Quote from Jerry Sanders, another upstanding San Diegan leading the march for lawfulness and civilization. Stay classy!”

D wrote on September 7, 2007 12:23 PM:
“Red, I reread your post, and your followup, and conclude that I was right, and I thank you for providing more information to solidify that conclusion. I commented that people were using the “riot” to post juvenile and pathetic rants against the police, who you say harrass, abuse and scare. For instance you claim to have some fantasy incident “under investigation” you were referring to. You dont like cops, and you’re just using this “riot” to post your opinion. Well, the cops shined that day at the beach, so what “clean up their act” nonsense are you talking about? Nothing, is the answer. You just don’t like cops. So dont call ’em if you need them, and Grow up.”

Poseidon wrote on September 8, 2007 2:24 PM:
“You call this a riot? In Brighton, this would be a warm up to a pleasant afternoon by the seashore, and wouldn’t have made a significant entry in the log books. Grow up, San Diego and learn to take a stride; then you can see what’s in it.”

Jerry Hall wrote on September 10, 2007 2:42 AM:
“I don’t think any of us aspire to be more like England – where every football game seems to turn into a riot. Anytime I see or hear about people throwing things at police – projectiles of any sort – I’d call that a bunch of idiots out of control or = riot. I’d bet if there were stones on the beach they’d been throwing those too. Riot is a state of mind not a defined set of actions – although those actions can lead someone to deduce a crowd’s state of mind no?”

Red wrote on September 12, 2007 2:38 AM:
“D,I find you very amusing.Obviously very uptight over the cop issue. The incident I mentioned has to do with one the the check points set up in PB that weekend where a cop took it upon himself to follow a lone woman driver after she had gone through the check point. He pulled her over, telling her to drive off the main street onto a side street, 1st cuffed her, she had admitted to consuming 2 beers, proceeded to search her bag and car and when the woman asked for another policeman to be present he continued his search without comment and ALLEDGEDLY stole from the woman.That is as much detail as I will give you.She had passed the check point..was allowed to continue driving..he had no reason to pull her over..NONE and certainly no reason to cuff a girl who was bewildered and scared and had done NOTHING WRONG.”

Steve wrote on September 12, 2007 9:51 AM:
“Red…How do you know why the officer stopped her? Is it illegal for an officer to stop a motorist outside a DUI checkpoint? Do you know why the officer applied handcuffs or is it your opinion that they aren’t needed in any circumstances when detaining a female? Ignorance is bliss huh, Red?”

D wrote on September 12, 2007 10:07 AM:
“And you know this how? I thought she was a “lone woman driver.” What is this woman going to tell you, “Oh he cuffed me because hoo-boy I was drunk and violent, yea!””

Labor Day Riot 2007
2 Comments to “Installment One: Labor Day Beach Riots”
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