HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) — The Huntington Beach community was still reeling Monday after a weekend birthday bash at the beach drew thousands when an invitation was posted to TikTok.
"I think everybody's ready to have some one," one of the partygoers said Saturday.
But what came after was not at all what residents expected.
"Everyone was kinda like just brushing it off and then, before you knew, it was just one after another," Mikey Kryska said. "It's madness, all the little guys tearing it up."
According to the Huntington Beach Police Department, the party drew about 2,500 young people to the coast. And when officers tried to break up the event at sunset, the crowd pushed back — lighting fireworks, tagging buildings and damaging property.
Some of the vendors set up for a Sunday art walk lost everything.
"Plants are all over," Kandie Gonzalez of Peace Sol and Succulents said Sunday. "Cracked vases are all over. It's just sad."
Police said 178 people were arrested over the weekend, including dozens of minors, for everything from lighting illegal fireworks, to vandalism and even assault with a deadly weapon.
But can the original poster, who apparently did not even show up, face legal ramifications?
"This all depends on the post and who is making the post," Stanley Goldman, an attorney and professor at Loyola Law School, said. "If it's Kim Kardashian doing it, she knows thousands of people are gonna show up and that could cause some real, not only civil problems, but maybe even criminal problems for her if there is destruction because this is just too reckless a thing to do."
But, Goldman said, criminal charges against someone who is not famous who posts about a party that goes awry are unlikely unless the power specifically encouraged illegal activity.
"If they say, 'Come on down here, we're gonna smash some windows and loot some stores,' then, you know, there's no question you've got arguable criminal liability if someone does that," Goldman said.
But it doesn't appear that happened in this case, especially since the party invite was taken down days before the bash was set to happen — something that those in attendance admitted.
"It is unlikely anyone finds themselves criminally liable for this, but that doesn't mean you can't be sued," Goldman said.
And though a civil lawsuit is more likely in a situation like this, experts said one would likely not be filed because nobody has reported individual losses of more than about $2,000.
As for the 178 people arrested, the Orange County District Attorney's Office has yet to file any charges.
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