BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer
As some attendees of an event at Redwood City’s Fox Theater featuring Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai began to leave, the theater’s manager advised them to sit tight before leaving.
The reason? An estimated 150-200 teens were across the street at Courthouse Square shooting off fireworks.
Fox Theater General Manager Ernie Schmidt said he didn’t see much of what was going on outside on May 20, as he was handling what was going on inside. He had received a text saying that there was a disturbance outside, just as Yousafzai was answering some questions from the audience.
Schmidt said he told people who were trying to leave early to wait until things had calmed down outside.
“I only got a quick look, but it was something like 100 kids yelling and maybe a fight,” Schmidt said. Police say that at 8:20 p.m. they got a call about a large group of teens setting off fireworks and blocking the sidewalks and street. As officers arrived, the group began to throw things at them. Two of the teens began to fight the officers, according to Acting Lt. Nick Perna. One officer was bitten in the arm and kicked in the chest, and another was hit. Neither had “lasting injuries” as a result, Perna said.
The two teens were arrested and taken to the police station. One was released to a parent and the other was taken to juvenile hall, Perna said.
Perna said the fireworks the teens were setting off were “large, and not stuff you’d have in California.”
He added that if anyone was close enough to one of those fireworks when they went off, they could have been hurt.
Neither Perna nor Schmidt could think of any similar incident regarding such a large group of teens.
Schmidt said there have been some issues with kids using the sidewalk along Broadway as “a speedway” to do stunts with their bikes and the occasional fight, he said Friday’s incident was “surprising.”
Schmidt went on to say that while Courthouse Square is for everyone, it is not a place for violence. He pointed out that issues like this can harm the downtown businesses that barely squeaked by during Covid.
Yousafzai was at the Fox as part of a six-speaker series, which included explorer Bob Ballard and Seinfeld actor Jason Alexander. Yousafzai is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate after she was shot by the Taliban due to her activism regarding female education. At the event on Friday, she was interviewed by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco. The two talked about a woman’s right to education. Yousafzai also talked about her recent marriage and her activism.