Multiple Illegal Street Gatherings Reported in Oakland and San Francisco

police officer on police bike, motorcycle

Five individuals were taken into custody by the Oakland police on Tuesday following traffic stops connected to sideshow events that took place on both sides of the bay over the weekend.

The mainstay of California sideshows is meeting up in empty lots or highways between midnight and deep into the early mornings, usually with many onlookers present, to execute vehicle stunts, like donuts, and play music. Fireworks are often set off during these escapades. There is drug and alcohol use.

Late at night, rumors of a large sideshow prompted officers to respond to an area near the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland. Police found over 300 automobiles and 200 spectators engaging in illegal activity, including stunt driving and other dangerous maneuvers.

As additional police officers arrived, the gathering moved to the corner of Adeline Street and 5th Street. Spectators set off fireworks at both sites. As time went on, the crowd dispersed to other parts of Oakland, eventually reaching neighboring cities. 

Subsequent investigations in San Francisco revealed other sideshows, this time in the Mission District and along the Embarcadero.

Officials said that the OPD’s ARGUS helicopter did an excellent job of following the procession as it circled the city. The police conducted seven traffic stops in conjunction with field officers. As a consequence of the stops, three weapons were recovered, three vehicles were seized, and five people were taken into custody.

In viral videos, cars crash, accelerate to maximum speed, and come dangerously close to spectators as non-professional drivers drive recklessly. The cars are usually stolen and then vandalized for fun and to make themselves prominent on social media.

Parents should be wary of these types of gatherings. People are sometimes killed or maimed. Victims sustain life-threatening wounds. 

Due to the high levels of aggression and the impact of mob mentality on crowd behavior, going to a street takeover or sideshow is highly risky.