There were broken windows and anti-police tagging, but nothing was stolen from Santa Ana College’s Digital Media Center during a Saturday night demonstration that turned destructive.
Sunday morning images show that the center’s lobby windows were broken and the exterior walls were spray-painted with anti-police slogans every few feet.
“Nothing was stolen due to [the Santa Ana Police Department] and our safety officers getting there so quickly,” said Enrique Perez, Vice Chancellor of Educational Services. “Their response prevented them from going into the building.”
Santa Ana Update: Major vandalism including broken windows, vulgar graffiti and a trash can fire at the Orange County Small Business Development Center on Bristol. Pictures provided by a witness @CBSLA @KCBSKCALDesk pic.twitter.com/evAtmoEFQf
— Chris Ercoli (@CErcoliCBS2KCAL) May 31, 2020
Along with the DMC, groups of people that broke off from the main protest vandalized dozens of other buildings and businesses along Bristol Street, including Food 4 Less and Target.
The Santa Ana demonstration was part of a series of protests against police brutality in Orange County after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police last week.
At 8 p.m. Saturday, the protest began on the intersection of Bristol St. and W. McFadden Ave. Some people threw bottles and shot fireworks at police, quickly escalating the situation so that within 45 minutes, police declared the gathering a “riot.”
More Santa Ana police, along with SWAT arrived at the scene who called for reinforcements from law enforcement agencies across the county.
Peaceful participants began to move south on Bristol, but other groups broke off and began to vandalize establishments such as Smart & Final, Food 4 Less, Target and other small businesses. They spray-painted slogans, broke windows, stole goods, and destroyed the products inside some stores.
“[The cities] had a mutual aid agreement…They were there helping us along with the Sheriff, and if we need them again, they’re ready to go again,” Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido stated in a press release video. “We want people to protest peacefully, we don’t tolerate or want any violence whatsoever.”
It’s unclear how many fires were started Saturday night, but OC Fire Authority Chief Nguyen said there was a “strike team” dispatched, consisting of five engines and a battalion chief, which patrolled the city, with police escorts, for any fires that needed to be extinguished.
The DMC was built in 2006 and features a business incubator for start-up companies on the second floor as well as instructional space for SAC’s digital media arts, television and video production and digital music programs.
“There was no reason to do this [vandalize the building],” said a campus security officer overseeing the clean up of the DMC on Sunday morning. “This helps no one.
Additional reporting by Julian Reynoso and Carrie Graham.