San Jose police quelled a crowd of about 400 people celebrating Cinco de Mayo on Sunday, including some rowdy celebrants who threw rocks and bottles at officers, a police spokesman said. Despite the problems, San Jose police credit a patrol strategy in East San Jose and downtown for a decline in arrests during the Mexican cultural event this year compared to 2012, police spokesman Officer Albert Morales said. Only 11 people were arrested citywide on Sunday.
The arrests were for offenses including assault with a deadly weapon, narcotics possession, public drunkenness and a weapons violation. Last year on Cinco de Mayo, there were 23 arrests, Morales said. “We can probably attribute it to stepped-up enforcement, an increase in patrols of areas where we’ve had issues,” Morales said. The crowd of roughly 400 people gathered outside a house party at Santa Clara and 21st streets around 7:15 p.m., he said.
A sideshow began in the street, and people walked onto the roadway to watch drivers doing wheel-spinning “burnouts,” Morales said. When the partiers blocked traffic, a Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority bus had to stop, Morales said. As helmeted police wielding batons moved forward to disperse the group, some people hurled rocks and bottles toward the officers, the VTA bus and patrol car, Morales said.
The objects shattered the front and side windows of the bus and the windshield of the police car, Morales said. After directing the crowd to disperse, police discovered that a civilian had been assaulted. That person was transported to a hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening, Morales said. VTA spokeswoman Brandi Childress said today that the windows of the damaged bus would be repaired and that the VTA expects the vehicle to be back in service sometime this week.
No major problems were reported during a three-hour family-oriented Cinco de Mayo festival at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose, Morales said. Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies patrolled the festival and San Jose police sent two motorcycle teams outside the fairgrounds as people filed out of the event. About 178 officers were deployed over the weekend, and traffic diversions were set up Sunday on the King Road corridor between McKee, Tully, Story and Jackson Road in East San Jose and parts of Fourth and Market streets downtown.
The diversions were lifted at 10 p.m. and no major incidents were reported after that time, Morales said. “It was a very good day considering some of the issues and incidents in the past on Cinco de Mayo,” he said.
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