Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican-American holiday celebrating the victory by the Mexican army over the French on May 5, 1862 at the Battle of Puebla, when they defeated a much larger army. However this is not Mexico’s Independence Day, as is often believed by Americans. Mexico still celebrates its independence day that began on Sept 16, 1810. Cinco De Mayo celebrates the surprise victory that may have even prevented a potential French invasion of the US during the American Civil War.
Cinco de Mayo continues to be a strong tradition for Mexican-Americans. Cinco de Mayo kicked off with live mariachi bands and salsa music at events throughout California. But that wasn’t all. There were also those who worked all weekend who were on Monday seeking some quiet and relaxation after the flood of party-goers had ended. For weekend partiers in the Morgan Hill and San Jose downtown areas, good food, friends and family topped the evening, while younger crowds choose to drive down Santa Clara Street to join other motorists waving flags Mexican flags while singing to their favorite music. With hundreds of party-goers gathering in the downtown area, the SJPD was most concerned about fights breaking out, vandalism, and drunk driving.
View video: Cinco de Mayo 2014 Celebration
The California Highway Patrol, San Jose Police Department, and San Jose State University Police Department joined forces to help keep the streets safe for patrons at local restaurants, bars and clubs. In one instance, the University Police pulled over a female driver who was suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol. Officers initialized a breathalyzer test, having the female suspect test twice In order to determine a suspect’s level of intoxication. Officers recorded a 2.5, which is three times higher than the legal limit allowed to drink and drive. The suspect was given her Miranda rights and taken to the Santa Clara Main Jail for booking.
A standard operating procedure in the jail is to also take a blood sample measuring the amount of alcohol, and or drugs in a suspect’s bloodstream. The CHP also were in pursuit of a several drivers seen driving in the wrong lane or making wide turns showing signs of intoxication.
The San Jose Police department reported over fifty arrests on Sunday, May 4. The types of crimes committed during the weekend included: PC 647 (F) – Misdemeanor under the influence of Drugs or Alcohol; HS 11350 – Felony possession of narcotics or controlled substance; VC 23152 (B) – Misdemeanor driving with blood alcohol level 0.08 or higher; PC 191.5 (B) – Vehicular Manslaughter while intoxicated, without Gross Negligence; PC 415 (1), Misdemeanor charge of fighting in a public place; and an unprecedented number of PC 273.5, – Felony injury on spouse or cohabitant. Violent crimes are known to increase as a larger numbers of people begin to drink.
But for many, the Cinco de Mayo experience was just a matter of when they were getting off work. Leaving Domino’s, Brenda Smith said, “I don’t celebrate Cinco de Mayo”. She said, “I am just getting off from work”. With more people celebrating the holiday she said, “everyone came out yesterday. Everyone was all excited.”
Security staff at the Dive Bar noticed that business would pick up and then slow as it got later into the night. Mohammad Abdul, security staff at Chaco’s located at 87 E. San Fernando Street said, “I had to work all weekend, but I celebrated with family and friends”. “I just drank water,” Abdul added. “I work at a bar so I know what drinking is all about”.
Photos and Video: Amy Nilson