How a teenager’s birthday invitation on TikTok ended in arrests and clashes on the beach

It started with a 17-year-old from the Inland Empire planning a birthday party in Huntington Beach.

He sent the ad on TikTok.

And so “Adrian’s Party” ended up becoming a viral sensation, one that also became a serious problem for Huntington Beach police.

Over the weekend, more than 2,000 attendees gathered along the pier and downtown, setting off fireworks, jumping into police vehicles, and sometimes clashing with officers.

In the end, more than 175 people were arrested.

“It’s classic: They get on TikTok and things can come out of nowhere,” said Molly Brock, a 37-year-old Huntington Beach resident. “The feeling is nice, I mean, everyone likes a fun party, but it obviously got out of hand.”

This is what we know:

What was “Adrián’s party”?

It all started with a TikTok post from a teenager last week named Adrian, who announced that he was going to celebrate his birthday on Saturday “at the campfires” in Huntington Beach. The post garnered millions of views and it was clear that the beach town of Orange would be invaded by partygoers.

The police began to prepare.

On Friday, Huntington Beach Police (HBPD) posted this message on Twitter: “We are actively monitoring multiple social media posts announcing a big gathering on the beach this weekend. The safety and well-being of our residents, visitors, businesses and motorists is paramount, which is why HBPD is taking important steps to prepare for the potential influx of visitors, including working closely with our regional public safety partners. To that end, the HBPD will also strictly enforce all applicable laws and ordinances over the weekend. ”

What happened on Saturday night?

Business owners, store clerks and Huntington Beach residents described a raucous scene with thousands of people, most of them teenagers or in their early 20s, crossing from the beach onto the Pacific Coast Highway and confronting the Police in the downtown business district. Some scratched shop windows with graffiti, while others set off fireworks and threw bottles and other objects.

More than 150 officers from nearly every Orange law enforcement agency showed up to try to disperse the crowd. They had been waiting since they found out about the social media post earlier in the week. With their help, Huntington Beach worked to keep vandals away from businesses on and around Main Street, at some point using tear gas, said Mark Matters, owner of HQ Gastropub on Pacific Coast Highway and 6th Street.

“There were kids running in all directions and they started scratching everything with graffiti,” Matters said. “They covered the front of my store with graffiti.”

No significant injuries were reported, but several businesses and police vehicles were vandalized, along with a lifeguard tower, police said.

Most of the arrests, about 150, came after police issued a dispersal order on Saturday night.

What were the consequences?

Community members came Sunday morning with brooms to sweep streets, as well as sidewalks, and put chemicals to remove graffiti on Matters store windows and other storefronts that were vandalized.

Much of the clutter had been cleaned up by noon Sunday, although some evidence of rioting remained. A glass door at the entrance to a CVS pharmacy was shattered. Employees said they had to lock the doors and flee around the back as the crowd approached Saturday night.

On Sunday night, a smaller crowd of about 150 gathered again, and Huntington Beach police reissued an illegal assembly order late at night. Twenty-nine more individuals were arrested, including 13 minors, according to police.

Records showed that most of those arrested Sunday were not from Huntington Beach. Some were from as far away as the Central Valley, including two Bakersfield men who were arrested on fireworks charges.

Jodi McKay of the Huntington Beach International Museum of Surfing opened a GoFundMe account to support 40 local artists whose exhibits were destroyed in the events of Saturday night.

The HBPD never found the host of the party, Adrian, said spokeswoman Jennifer Carey.

That’s because he didn’t go to Huntington Beach. Concerned about the growing size of what was supposed to be a small party for friends, he changed his call to Los Angeles, Adrian told the New York Times. He stressed that he removed his mentions from the Huntington Beach event, but that it was too late to dissuade the crowd from attending.

On Saturday night, the New York newspaper reported, Adrián was concerned about what that publication had generated. “I am nervous. My parents don’t know and they are going to find out. So, Mom and Dad, I’m sorry, but I don’t know what to do. “

Tony Barboza contributed to this article.

If you want to read this article in Spanish, Click here.

This article was first published in Los Angeles Times in Spanish.

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