UCSB “Deltopia” Riot Suspect Charged as Adult
Santa Barbara – The night of April 5th will remain a blot on pages of UCSB’s history for some time to come, and continues to be a cause of controversy over the law enforcement response which followed several hours of what has been described by many as “an incident of civil unrest.”
While Spring Break gatherings in the Isla Vista community streets immediately adjacent to the UCSB campus have become somewhat routine over the past few years, with 15,000-18,000 attendees in 2013, the crowds on April 5th have now officially been reported at 20,000 to 25,000, which may have contributed to 166 arrests, 190 citations, 50 medical transports, and more than 500 calls for law enforcement service.
Among those arrested was Desmond Louis Edwards, 17, “on charges of assaulting and resisting a police officer and numerous additional charges,” according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff Public Information Officer Kelly Hoover. While the circumstances surrounding Edwards’ actions have become a source of courtroom debate, Hoover reported that he is accused of “hitting a UCSB Police Officer in the head with a backpack containing glass liquor bottles causing a significant head injury.” Edwards has been charged with those crimes as an adult in spite of the fact that at his preliminary hearing evidence showed there was a single half-full bottle in his backpack, and that there has been no offer of verified injury evidence to date in the case.
Pursuant to the events in which Edwards is alleged to have participated, one thing is clear: things only got worse as the evening wore on, with Hoover reporting that “four law enforcement personnel were transported to local area hospitals,” a statistic that some speculate is the consequence of a mere 130 deputies assigned to an event where public intoxication was the order of the day among 20,000 or more young people. It was not until the middle of that night that—after more than eight hours of binge-drinking and general rowdiness on the part of many of the youth in that crowd—additional law enforcement personnel were called into action, and in which Edwards found himself acting less than judiciously.
Edwards was officially charged with mayhem, resisting an officer, assault on an officer, causing great bodily injury, and committing a violent offense. He is currently held in Santa Barbara County Juvenile Hall on $75,000 bail.
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