2 large sideshows in Oakland have some city leaders calling for crackdown

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- It's a resurgent problem in Oakland-- illegal sideshows. Sunday afternoon, there were two large ones within a couple of hours of each other and it seems the police and highway patrol were powerless to stop them.

Some city leaders want a crackdown, but what does that look like?

VIDEO: CHP video gives bird's-eye view of illegal sideshow in Oakland

"It was very crazy... people were drifting, three four cars at a time," said Allen Kepa.

Kepa said he was there Sunday afternoon, when dozens of cars participated in an illegal sideshow in a major intersection, 42nd Avenue and International, in the heart of Oakland.

"Major, major drift show, not a side show, it was a drift show," said Kepa. "Cars flying around in big old donuts. You can see the donuts. Probably 50 cars swinging, back to back and they were going fast, really fast."

Kepa said it went on for hours, and broke up only after gunshots rang out in the crowd. He did see some Oakland police cars, but they were sitting several blocks away.

VIDEO: Sideshows erupt across Oakland ahead of Warriors last game at Oracle Arena

"We cannot make any excuses," said Oakland City Councilman Noel Gallo, who wants the police to intervene. "Whether it's five, 10, 15, the National Guard. I don't care who enforces it, but we can't allow it. It will continue to grow until someone's injured, someone dies."

Oakland Police spokesperson Johnna Watson issued a statement to ABC7News saying:

On April 7, 2019, at approximately 3:45 PM, officers responded to illegal sideshow activity in the 4200 block of International Boulevard. The crowd size was approximately 100 people, over 50 cars with additional motorcycles and dirt bikes. The Department requested additional resources to assist (CHP, CHP Air Support and the Alameda County Sheriff's Office).

At the same time illegal sideshow activity was reported throughout the city. Officers continued to respond to the other locations as well as priority calls where police services were needed.

It was approximately two hours before officers were able to clear the area of 42/International Boulevard of illegal side show activity.

The Oakland Police Department continues to work collectively with city resources and our community to find long term solutions to illegal sideshow activity that affects the quality of life and can result in injury or death.


RELATED: Bay Bridge sideshow that stopped traffic ends with one driver arrested, CHP says

Jose Ortiz has been pushing for an end to Oakland's illegal sideshows for years. He wants the city to install more obstacles, like planter boxes in the middle of neighborhood streets.

And, Ortiz thinks Oakland city leaders need to create legal alternatives, although similar efforts have failed in years past.

"Create a spot where they can come and do these," said Ortiz, the owner of a local restaurant, "registered by the Oakland Police Department. Telling them they can only do sideshow from this time to this time."

Several Oakland City Council members support assembly Bill 410 which would increase penalties for illegal sideshows-- including turning some misdemeanors into felonies.

See more sideshow news.
Copyright © 2019 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.