Eight people were arrested and several officers were injured Sunday night in a confrontation between beachgoers and Huntington Beach police following the U.S. Open of Surfing.
Police were still assessing the damage after a fight broke out in the crowd about 7 p.m. but said eight were arrested for failing to disperse. Several officers and people in the crowd suffered minor injuries during the two-hour fracas, said Lt. John Domingo.
Domingo said the disturbance left city signs, vehicles and portable bathrooms damaged. Video from the incident showed police in riot gear squaring off with unruly people in the crowd.
A Huntington Beach Police spokesman said the department had requested help from neighboring agencies to quell the disturbance.
One witness, Russ Mundi, who attended the surfing contest, said he saw crowds tip over portable toilets and defy orders from police to leave. He said police fired what smelled like tear gas. “I heard shots going off, and the whole crowd just started running,” he said.
“We used crowd management tactics and devices,” Domingo said.
The surfing event drew thousands of people to the Huntington Beach boardwalk over the weekend.
Officials told KTLA the last riot in Huntington Beach following a surfing event was in 1986.