99 people arrested during Coachella’s first weekend

by in News

Arrests and the number of people illegally using handicapped parking placards on the first weekend of the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was down from last year, according to the Indio Police Department.

Starting with the arrival of campers on Thursday, April 11, 99 people were arrested during the three-day event, a decrease from the 106 arrests on the first weekend in 2018. Those arrests included 86 for drug and alcohol intoxication, six for presenting false identification and three for possession of drugs for sale. There were four other miscellaneous arrests.

Police and the Department of Motor Vehicles issued 42 misdemeanor citations for unlawfully using handicapped placards during that first weekend of the festival as well. In 2018, 135 people were cited for the same offense over the course of the two weekends, according to a DMV news release.

Indio police spokesman Ben Guitron said Wednesday that the department believes that enforcement and education have in part driven the decreases.

DMV spokesman Jaime Garza cautioned that the number of people misusing the placards tends to fluctuate. Officers will check a number on the placard against the number and person’s name on a registration card that is supposed to be carried in the vehicle, and then compare that name to a motorist’s identification. A person cannot legally borrow someone’s placard, even if he is injured or handicapped, Garza said.

Fines for placard misuse can range from $250 to $1,000, Garza said. The citations can be for misdemeanor crimes or traffic infractions, depending on the jurisdiction.