WATCH – A viral TikTok video brought chaos to Huntington Beach. Officials fear it’s just the beginning

Yahoo News:

People my age haven’t gone out in a year,” said Edgar Peralta, an 18-year-old Downey resident who went to last Saturday’s party but said he does not condone the debauchery that ensued. “It was to get the ball rolling. This is the start of summer.”

Huntington Beach has dealt with wild parties, drunken melees and political unrest.

But nothing prepared officials for “Adrian’s kickback,” which started as a simple birthday party for an Inland Empire teenager and turned into a viral TikTok event that drew thousands to the beach last week — though not Adrian Lopez, who in the days leading up to the party was increasingly nervous about all the attention.

When it was over, more than 175 people were arrested, city officials and merchants were adding up the damage, and everyone was wondering who should be blamed and who should be billed.

The way Adrian’s birthday invitation went viral has alarmed city leaders, who say they are not sure how to deal with it. City Councilman Dan Kalmick is angry that police resources and taxpayer dollars were spent on what he called a prank. He said they have no easy answers for how to cope with the next viral video unleashed on popular platforms like TikTok that can get millions of views within days.

“It goes to the fact that government isn’t structured to deal with an amorphous entity of folks,” Kalmick said. “This wasn’t like a concert where we could talk to a promoter and issue a permit. When you have folks who don’t have a command or control structure, how does a city or police department manage that? I’m just not sure.”

“Adrian’s kickback” speaks to the power of the TikTok social media algorithm, which sent a post about the teen’s birthday far and wide. But it’s also in many ways a sign of the pent-up energy of young people desperate for fun after more than a year of pandemic lockdown.

People my age haven’t gone out in a year,” said Edgar Peralta, an 18-year-old Downey resident who went to last Saturday’s party but said he does not condone the debauchery that ensued. “It was to get the ball rolling. This is the start of summer.”

The origin story of what became three days of unrest in downtown Huntington Beach is a familiar one.

For his 17th birthday, Adrian wanted to kick back with friends from school at the fire pits in Huntington Beach. Beach party celebrations are a tradition for many Southern California teens. But what happened last weekend was anything but ordinary.

The high schooler’s invitation was picked up by TikTok’s “For You” algorithm and viewed by people across the country. The announcement was curious: Who was this mystery teen, and would anyone actually go to his party? Some TikTok users, including internet celebrities, began posting about it, and videos with the hashtag #adrianskickback have since drawn more than 326 million views.

On Saturday night, roughly 2,500 teenagers and young adults — some who say they drove for hours or flew in from other states — converged on the Huntington Beach Pier and downtown area in a gathering that devolved into mayhem.

Partygoers blasted fireworks into a mob in the middle of Pacific Coast Highway, jumped on police cars, scaled palm trees and flag poles and leapt from the pier into throngs of people below to crowd-surf. A window at CVS was smashed, businesses were tagged with graffiti, and the roof of Lifeguard Tower 13 collapsed after it was scaled.

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