A 17-year-old Los Angeles resident accused of fighting with police and kicking off Saturday night’s Deltopia riot in Isla Vista has been charged by the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s Office with multiple felonies and will be prosecuted as an adult. Desmond Louis Edwards is charged with mayhem (the legal term for physically maiming a victim) and assault upon a police officer, among other counts.
Sheriff Bill Brown, who addressed the County of Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, said that when a UCSB police officer went to detain Edwards after witnessing him get into a fight, Edwards attempted to escape the officer’s grip and swung a backpack full of alcohol bottles at him, splitting open his forehead and knocking him to the ground. The wound required multiple sutures, Brown said, and the altercation incited the nearby crowd into eventual chaos and destruction.
Brown said that while initial estimates put the number of Deltopia attendees at around 15,000 on Saturday, a closer inspection of aerial photographs suggests there were as many as 25,000 people on Isla Vista’s streets for the annual blowout. The riot — which started at round 9:30 p.m., lasted approximately four hours, and prompted police to fire tear gas and rubber bullets into the crowds — resulted in 26 people being sent to the hospital and 18 arrests. Over the course of the day, more than 100 people were arrested and 44 people were sent to the hospital.
Edwards appeared in court on Tuesday, but his arraignment was postponed. He is being held in Juvenile Hall and his bail is set at $100,000.