Community activist calls for end to Oakland sideshows

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ByLaura Anthony KGO logo
Friday, November 28, 2014
Community activist calls for end to Oakland sideshows
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Following a huge sideshow in Oakland that involved hundreds of people and cars, a community activist is calling for an end to what he calls a dangerous distraction for the city.

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A huge sideshow, with hundreds of people and cars involved, was busted in Oakland late Wednesday night. It was all caught by Sky7 HD, just as Oakland police and the California Highway Patrol were staged en masse a few blocks away, monitoring a demonstration in the downtown area.

On Thursday, remnants of the sideshow were still visible. Ash and parts of a car that went up in flames remained near the curb.

Debris from a car fire is is seen the day after a large sideshow in Oakland. (November 27, 2014/ABC7 News)

The CHP says they had information beforehand that a big sideshow was going to take place at the same time Ferguson demonstrators planned to march through the city.

The action was caught clearly by our helicopter just after 10:30 p.m. Two red cars did donuts in the middle of the road at the Port of Oakland, with hundreds of spectators standing just a few feet of the skidding cars.

At one point, it appeared one of the cars may have hit a bystander. Then, within minutes, dozens of CHP patrol cars with lights flashing swarmed in and started making arrests.

Dozens of CHP and Oakland police cars swarm a sideshow in Oakland. (November 26, 2014/ABC7 News)

One car, apparently trying to escape, burst into flames.

A car caught on fire during a sideshow in Oakland. (November 26, 2014/ABC7 News)

"We were able to use our training, in this instance, to block everyone in and prevent all the escape routes," said CHP Officer Sean Wilkenfeld. "We actually did lose a few people, some people were able to get out, but we blocked a majority."

As police surrounded the sideshow, a red van appeared to try to make a run for it by smashing through a chain link fence. As the occupants got out of the van, they included a child in a stroller.

A van trying to make an escape during a sideshow in Oakland smashed through a chain link fence . (November 26, 2014/ABC7 News)

The CHP says there were also gunshots fired from the crowd, but no one was hurt.

Another smaller sideshow event was posted on YouTube. That one took place near High Street Wednesday night in Oakland.

"I'm thinking there's too much going, on for one," said Oakland community and youth activist Todd Walker.

Walker sees the sideshow activity as a dangerous distraction for a city that needs to focus its energies elsewhere

"For half the police force to be blocking off some people that's driving in cars, when other people are burning up the city, that bothers me more," he said.

The CHP reports its officers confiscated multiple guns, cited dozens of cars, and detained a number of people for a variety of offenses. Investigators plan to release more specific information on Friday.

PHOTOS: Hundreds of cars detained after sideshow at Port of Oakland