“Man, I hate having to get bailed out by my parents. So embarrassing,” said Leigh.
Photo by Maria Dhilla
At 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 14, a crowd of 200 UCSD students gathered on a lawn in the new Sixth College to watch an unsanctioned open mic. An hour later, as the crowd swayed to the fourth rendition of John Legend’s “All of Me,” a voice through a bullhorn interrupted the concert, announcing, “This is UCPD. You are in violation of the ‘10 is company’ rule, and are ordered to disperse.”
The crowd was stunned. One audience member, Turquoise Leigh, described the experience as “traumatic,” saying, “I was standing in the middle of the crowd, being carried away by that cute White boy’s falsetto. I’m telling you, it was the best ‘All of Me’ so far, he had me ready to give him all of me. That raspy bullhorn voice just yanked me out of my dreamy state and completely ruined my internal rhythm. It terrified me. I don’t think I will ever be able to listen to my ‘All of ‘All Of Me’ 100x’ playlist ever again.” Witnesses claim that at the sound of the bullhorn, the performer stopped for an instant on the stage. Then, the crowd started chanting, “Sing ‘Fuck tha Police!’” And the opening bars of NWA’s hit song started playing. “He did his best, ya know, considering he was a White dude singing an NWA song. It was good to see him replacing… inappropriate… words. Really respectful of him. But I think that song was what really put lemon in the policeman’s milk, especially when the singer started pointing straight at him when that line about the ‘punk muthafucka with a badge and a gun’ came up.”
Videos of the incident showed that the singer did not finish getting through Ice Cube’s verse as the UCPD Systemwide Response Team, a newly formed SWAT-like counter-protest force, launched tear gas and stormed the crowd. “It was, like, needlessly violent,” said Flavio Buchannan, a second-year in Revelle. “I watched videos in Imperialism 101 about what it was like in Vietnam when the US attacked, with the bombs and napalm dropping, and severe civilian casualties from an occupying force. This is, like, the exact same situation.”
Concertgoers are reported to have clashed with police. “We were throwing anything we could get our hands on: baby carrots, hydroflasks, my five-foot best friend,” said Buchannan. Several minor injuries were sustained by both sides. One policeman was treated for a concussion after a member of the crowd allegedly hit him with a guitar. Robert Price, a second-year in Muir, contested the official police account in a Tweet from his popular account @thepriceislight: “That policeman had the nerve to headbutt my custom pearl-engraved Fender, and then they just call it a ‘guitar’ in the report AS IF IT IS NOT A CUSTOM PEARL-ENGRAVED FENDER!! My family lawyer will be suing for property damages and also sustained and grievous emotional harm. How will I ever play ‘Wonderwall’ again? #FTP”
In an official statement, the chief of UCPD said: “The open mic was in clear violation of the ‘10 is company’ rule. Given the number of people in violation, we decided it would be an excellent opportunity to test out the new recruits to our Systemwide Response Team, and show that there will be zero tolerance for violation of pandemic restrictions. We certainly didn’t expect that level of resistance from the people at the concert. I thought these singing hippy-losers were only good for smoking pot and dancing in a circle. But tonight, I learned that they fight like hell.”