Videos show wild, dangerous ‘sideshows’ plaguing Oakland

Warning: Graphic Language

OAKLAND, Calif. — Wild new videos show automotive mayhem around this Bay Area city as hundreds of drivers did donuts, allegedly fired guns and detonated fireworks across city streets over the weekend.

The chaotic events known as “sideshows” have plagued Oakland for years and reached a boiling point again over Thanksgiving weekend. That’s when 200 to 300 vehicles took part in the free-for-all at multiple sites around the city late Saturday night into Sunday, according to the Oakland Police Department.

Tires squeal, smoke rises from the street and spectators cheer as drivers brazenly pull stunts in intersections in sideshow videos posted to Instagram and YouTube. In one, a young man crumples to the ground after a screeching car slammed into him.

“We are committed to making our streets and neighborhoods a safer place for our residents and visitors,” said Officer Johnna Watson. “We encourage everyone to report illegal sideshow activity,” and “would like to remind everyone of the dangers related to sideshow activity.”

The videos “show how inherently dangerous sideshow activity is, especially when cars go into the crowds and hit people,” said Officer Johnna Watson to The East Bay Times. “We really encourage people not to participate in them or be an observer.”

Police officers made three arrests and towed away five vehicles. A barrage of bottles were thrown at cops who used CS tear gas to quell the crowds, a spokesman for the department said.

Participants build crowds by promoting some sideshows ahead of time on social media. Authorities, who’ve complained that out-of-towners descend on Oakland and cause problems, have tried discouraging attendees by posting warnings of their own on Twitter.

Filed under 11/29/17