Cops And Bros Clashing In Surf City: A Historical Timeline

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Thumbnail image for huntington-beach-riot-police-gilhooley.jpg
John Gilhooley
Despite being significant enough to get nationwide news play, this past weekend's riots in Huntington Beach are child's play compared to what's gone down in previous summers in Surf City. Over the past 20 years, bros and cops have taken turns acting like jerks. A quick version goes like this: First, starting in 1986, the bros got out of hand, then the cops started cracking skulls, then things eased up and now the bros (including one soon-to-be-ex-Fullerton firefighter) are back at being douchebags again.

Click on through for the timeline in all its brotastic glory...

Aug. 31, 1986: Drunk bros start running through a crowd of onlookers at the Ocean Pacific Pro-Surfing Championships, ripping bikini tops off various gals. Fighting ensues, cops are quickly overwhelmed, and the crowd topples some lifeguard towers and burn a couple of police cruisers. The cops, who put framed photographs of the flaming vehicles in their headquarters, vow never to let that happen again.

July 4, 1993: Bros take over Huntington Beach's increasingly rowdy Independence Day Celebration. They decide to celebrate America's birth by burning furniture on street corners. Police, five of whom are injured in clashes with the bros, arrest 40 of them.

July 4, 1995: Having apparently taken the previous year off, the bros come back to burn some couches on the street. This time, cops arrest 100 bros. They get sued for police brutality after wading into a crowd with batons.

July 4, 1996: The cops did some research and discovered a loophole in a long-forgotten city ordinance allows them to arrest anybody drinking a beer in their front yard, unless said yard is surrounded by a fence. They arrest hundreds of people, many of them bros, and force them to spend the night in a Guantanamo Bay-type open holding cell, minus the portable toilets. Fewer couches catch fire this year. Yay, freedom!

July 4, 2003: Notice a pattern here? Bros love July 4th. 90 of them get arrested, newspapers report.

July 22, 2008: Bros brawl and someone gets hurt with a lead pipe.

July 4, 2009: The OC Register says 69 people, presumably including a lot of bros, are arrested, mostly for drinking in public.

Between 2009 and this year, bros continue to get arrested in relatively small numbers each July 4th, with 2012 being the peak year, with more than 50 arrests made. Clearly, the bros did not learn their lesson, as this year's US Open of Surfing riots make clear. According to the pattern, next summer, the cops will be back to busting bros big-time again.

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24 comments
paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

1986 was the first time I was at the OP Pro and this riot happened. It was the last time I went to that event. The Bro scene there as just too friggin much. That's was WAAAaaaayyy before they refurbished the down town which In my opinion was a bad idea because it resulted in even more bros but ones with higher incomes and the attitudes to match. So now the bro douche bags come with Tommy Bahama aftershave and khaki shorts to match. I very much prefer the old down town to the new one. At least it kept the douche tourists out and the cooler minded ones came.

DaniGirl949
DaniGirl949

Huntington Beach was under staffed when it came to the US Open! It gets bigger and bigger each year. They need to step up on patrol! Hello, I am not even a cop and I know that. They need to take a page out of the Newport Beach Police dept i,e July 4th, and learn from the best!

sweetliberty17761776
sweetliberty17761776 topcommenter

tear gas tear gas tear gas


for starters


and those that are arrested and for then being noisy,, make the fine very very deep



ltpar
ltpar topcommenter

Don't like to second guess the Police, but if my business had been damaged I sure as hell would be asking tough questions of the Huntington Beach City Council.  On the surface, it appears that the Police did not have enough uniform and plain clothes officers in the right positions to quickly step in, grab off problem causers and put down the disturbance before it started?  Am also wondering why there was not a Quick Response Team in reserve, loaded in vehicles and ready for an immediate response to any trouble location?  In disturbances, Police generally do not respond until they have massed and can respond with overwhelming force.  That time delay, gave those instigating the problems to whip up the crowd and do their damage.  Again, strictly looking at it as an outsider, it looks to have been tactically flawed. 

rdiaz714
rdiaz714

I wouldn't blame the 909ers too quickly. Tons of OC douchebags drive lifted trucks and think they are tough guys because they have tattoos and watch UFC. 909ers don't give a shit about surfing anyways they are too busy making meth for the next upcoming motor cross event at Anaheim stadium.

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

lets get them and the 909 tweekers al together at the same time and let them do the thunder dome act. Take care of all three problems at once.

Sunny M. Toumanian
Sunny M. Toumanian

Bro means brother.. nothing wrong with that! If they are using the word facetiously, then let the haters hate! Bros can have the good vibes while the haters do what they do!

Andrea Roberson
Andrea Roberson

Oh yeah-Here's one for ya.."The US BRO-pen of Surfing!!

Andrea Roberson
Andrea Roberson

Dear OC Weekly-Great pics of the "AfterTheOpen" Benefit Fundraiser except that Van's & Simple Mobile had absolutely NOTHING to do with it!! The ATO is a fundraiser and supports local businesses that actually LOSE money during the USOS! I am the Founder and Director of this event and along with my loyal staffers we work very hard to make it a success-this was where all the TRUE surfing professionals, legends and athletes celebrated, not downtown! Mahalo!

John JT Tran
John JT Tran

Oc weekly is the troll of all news publications lol

René Bruce
René Bruce

Yeah OP of 86 was WAY more crazy then this past one.. Don't get why idiots pull this Shit... myself !

Avery Huxley
Avery Huxley

OC Weekly why do you have such an obsession with the word "bro"? I'm so sick of you generalizing everyone from Huntington as "bros".

949girl
949girl topcommenter

What exactly is a bro I asked myself...then I looked on Urban Dictionary and I think this definition most closely fits: "a usually white young male, found commonly in places like san bernardino county in california, as well as orange county. always, without exception, drive big lifted trucks, often white. has the name of their crew or whatever in big white letters on their back window (ie, "skin", "metal mulisha". wear: trucker hats off center, plug earrings, sunglasses, wife beater shirt or no shirt, sagging dickies shorts, high black socks, skater shoes or those black corduroy slipper things, have a lot of tatoos of things like stars."  



bphood
bphood

@rdiaz714 as a h.b. res I do blame 909ers. I was downtown yesterday and everything was just fine like usual. I think that 9ers should go back to wearing shorts with black socks so they are easier for the police to spot

paullucas714
paullucas714 topcommenter

@949girl That was in response to the eventual embaarssment caused by realizing that they were Wiggers. So they became Bros instead. Not an improvement at all since they still speak in ebonics.

JBinOC
JBinOC topcommenter

That definition is the funniest thing I've read all month. The only thing missing is patchy facial hair and/or a ZZ Top goatee.

949girl
949girl topcommenter

@paullucas714 @949girl  I don't think wiggers and bros are the same.   Bros remind me of the UFC while wiggers remind me of Vanilla Ice. 

949girl
949girl topcommenter

@JBinOC Urban Dictionary is usually pretty accurate for things like this.  I think bro is just another way of saying douchebag.

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