On April 28, 2016, a mere seven months before Donald Trump became the President of the United States, he visited Orange County, California, to rally his supporters in solidarity at the Orange County Fairgrounds. Over 8,000 people arrived at the venue, some of which came as early as eight hours before the doors opened.
Due to his controversial campaign promises, protesters drew in droves. Teens and young adults waved anarchist flags and blew toy air-horns at oncoming traffic driving into the parking lot. Protestors peacefully rebuked Donald Trump's candidacy, albeit passionately. A massive disorganized crowd of dissidents awaited attendees walking into the venue, where police sat atop their horses and sternly divided the two groups. Roughly 200 police officers from across Orange County came to monitor the crowd and earn their overtime pay.
Despite the police's array of both lethal and nonlethal weapons, protesters and attendees felt little reservation in hugging the police line and instigating each other.
As night fell and Trump's supporters exited the venue, the atmosphere for protest grew heated as would a stoked hearth. Youth poured out onto the streets and spray-painted fairground signs. They climbed street lights and performed doughnut maneuvers in their cars to smoke out people walking home along the sidewalks.
When the police began dispersing the crowd from Fair Drive and Fairview Road, the mob surrounded two isolated police vehicles which became prime targets for vandalism. In the cover of darkness, a few destructive individuals broke concrete from the sidewalks, smashed in the windows, attempted to flip a police vehicle, and even jumped on top of the roof to cave it in. To many surprises, the vandals had little regard for the sea of cameras that surrounded them. Instead, they posed, laughed, and smiled as if treating the lenses like social validation.
Altogether, the night ended with 17 arrests and cost the Sheriff's Department $129,194. For roughly a month, they sought payment from the Fair & Event Center. However, the Trump campaign refused to pay such a hefty bill. Instead, the campaign paid the City of Costa Mesa $15,655 towards the cost of the police officers' overtime. After the lessons learned from this event, the Orange County Fair Board unanimously decided to require a $2 million insurance policy from event organizers. Future organizers are also required to sign an agreement to pay all security and law enforcement costs before renting the venue.