OAKLAND, Calif. (KTVU/BCN) - Oakland police towed 100 cars, issued numerous citations and made two arrests following large sideshow activity in East Oakland early Sunday morning.
The aftermath of the sideshows shut down the High Street off ramp on southbound I-880 until mid-morning, so that officers could continue towing cars.
Oakland Police said they had a tip that sideshows would happen Saturday night and Sunday morning, and had a special detail in place to stop the cars.
A teenager from Modesto said his car was one of the dozens being towed from 42nd Street and had no way home. Oakland Police say even spectators will be held responsible for disrupting traffic and posing a serious threat to public safety.
“You have cars traveling the wrong way. We’re not talking about one, we’re talking about a very large group of cars. That’s concerning for us,” said Johnna Watson of Oakland Police. “Additionally, officers reported gunshots from within the crowd last night.”
There were three sideshow locations: 109th and McArthur, High Street and International Boulevard, and the largest was held at 42nd Avenue and I-880.
Police blocked exits at 42nd , High Street, and the freeway. By dawn, 85 vehicles had been towed. Some vehicles will be impounded for 30 days.
One Oakland man said he was driving home when he became caught in the sideshow.
“I was coming off the freeway and cars were coming the wrong way. I got blocked in,” said Angel Diaz, whose car was later towed.
“I had tear gas thrown at me. All of my government IDs are in there, so I might lose a government job.”
Diaz said it’ll cost him well over a thousand dollars to get his car back. Oakland Police also report that sideshow participants became violent and attacked officers, injuring two.
“We had an officer who was hit with what we believe was a probably a rock in the face,” said Watson. “We had an officer who a sideshow participant rammed the officer’s vehicle. If you’re going to take that kind of action against our officers, what are you going to do to the rest of the community that’s here?”
Watson said both injured officers were recovering with minor injuries.
Sunday morning, the watch commander and a team of officers had to process 30 towed vehicles and multiple citations. OPD said that work takes resources away from the community, who may need law enforcement help.
The City of Oakland said it’s open to talks about having organized, safe gatherings as an alternative to illegal sideshows.