Your newspaper recently reported on the unlawful assembly that occurred in Isla Vista during the evening hours of Saturday, March 8, 2014. I would like to comment on the responsible actions of a few students who helped law enforcement officers hold back the aggressive crowd as the situation escalated into a near riot.
The unfortunate incident started with the near-fatal stabbing of a man on the 6600 block of Del Playa Drive. As the investigation of the assault continued, a large group of onlookers (many from outside of the I.V. area) gathered on DP. The crowd swelled to several hundred people; one person jumped onto cars and began dancing on them. When he was arrested, the crowd closed in around deputies, chanting and throwing bottles and beer cans at them. Fortunately, a few UCSB students attempted to intervene and stepped forward to assist the deputies in calming the unruly crowd.
As we know, the dangerous and disrespectful actions of this crowd do not represent the attitudes of the UCSB student body. Instead, what stood out that night was the response of a few upstanding students who supported our deputies in this volatile situation. They realized the danger of the senseless, alcohol-induced group mentality of the moment. They showed a great deal of responsibility, respect and even courage as they did the right thing.
I applaud those students who decided to aid our deputies for their mature decision making, and I hope they will serve as role models to their classmates and to the rest of the community.
Bill Brown is the Santa Barbara County Sheriff and Coroner.