OAKLAND, Calif. - Sideshows cropped up throughout the Bay Area – in Oakland, San Jose and Santa Rosa – on Cinco de Mayo, as crowds whipped out their cell phones to watch cars doing donuts and driving recklessly on city streets.
One person was shot at the Santa Rosa sideshow.
In Oakland, video shows a large sideshow Thursday night in the Uptown district. Video from Citizen App shows cars at Broadway and Thomas Berkley Way about 9 p.m. spinning about as dozens of people watched, cell phones out. Another sideshow broke out on International Boulevard.
Oakland police said their Sideshow Unit was out, trying to break up the rowdy gatherings. Police showed pictures of officers impounding some cars.
In the end, Oakland police towed 60 vehicles, issued 17 citations, made two arrests and recovered one firearm.
In San Jose, more than 200 officers patrolled the downtown area to make sure the Cinco de Mayo celebrations were safe. There were some brief sideshows and reports of public drunkenness but it's not clear if any arrests were made.
And in Santa Rosa, police said they were dispatched to multiple sideshows.
More than 200 cars were spotted on Sebastopol Road at West Avenue about 7:30 p.m. Thursday, and hundreds of people gathered to watch. By 9 p.m., Santa Rosa police said the crowd swelled to 750 spectators, many of them blocking intersections.
About 10 p.m., Santa Rosa police discovered a 22-year-old gunshot victim in the 800 block of Sebastopol Road. He sustained multiple wounds to his lower extremities and was taken to the hospital.
Santa Rosa police said it was at this point that the dispersed the crowd with the help of the Sonoma County Sheriff, CHP and other local police departments.
Cities and police departments across the Bay Area have been vexed by the problem of sideshows, devising new laws and policies to curb their activity with varying degrees of success.
In one of the latest moves, the East Bay city of Pittsburg voted unanimously on Monday to make it illegal to watch sideshows on private property.
The ordinance enhanced a state law prohibiting sideshows and racing on public streets.
Violators would face a misdemeanor charge, carrying a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a fine of $1,000.