What was meant to be just another Friday night on Courthouse Square, turned into what Redwood City police called a disturbance that posed a threat to nearby “businesses and non-involved persons in the area” when around “150 to 200 juveniles” began igniting fireworks and blocking sidewalks and streets.
Two juveniles were arrested and transported to the police station, police said. One of them was taken into a juvenile detention facility; the other was released to their parent.
The incident involving the juveniles took place Friday around 8:20 p.m. when nearly 200 minors crowded Courthouse Square in Downtown Redwood City, according to a police department press release.
Redwood City police officers from the Downtown Services Unit, as well as officers from the Patrol Division Unit, responded to the area. The police also requested assistance from the San Mateo County Gang Task Force Unit.
According to police, officers asked the children to “disperse and cease illegal activities,” but had “items thrown at them” in response.
The two juveniles who were arrested had allegedly resisted arrest, according to police. One police officer was bitten on the arm and kicked in the chest during the arrest; the other was assaulted, but it’s not clear what type of assault occurred. Neither sustained lasting injuries, according to a police department press release.
Redwood City police officers remained on scene the remainder of the night to ensure there were no additional incidents, according to police.
The fireworks could be heard from the nearby Fox Theatre where Pakistani activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai was speaking to hundreds of people, according to patrons and Fox Theatre Manager Ernie Schmidt.
“It was bad enough that I made the decision to ask our 700 patrons who were just finishing up listening to Malala speak…to stay in the theatre until police were able to de-escalate what was occurring,” Schmidt said.
One witness, Kelly O’Dea, who was at the Fox during the event, said on Nextdoor that she believed the police activity was due to teenagers shooting off fireworks.
“A bunch of teenagers were throwing fireworks all over the place, being menaces, and scaring people,” O’Dea wrote. (O’Dea gave the Pulse permission to republish her comments). “The event was coming to a close and the manager of the Fox said we’d be safer if we stayed in until the police cleared out the scene.”