Oakland Police crack down on illegal sideshows

Oakland police were out in force Sunday trying to prevent a repeat of last weekend’s violent and chaotic sideshows. The department deployed 50 officers who patrolled the streets on motorcycles keeping an eye out for any potential sideshow activity.

“Our strategy has changed,” said Captain Randy Wingate. “We have more officers out on the streets and we let the tow companies know in advance, so we can expedite tows.”

Wingate also said that helicopters would be searching for any potential trouble from the air. “We have a large group of people coming here from cities as far away as Sacramento, Stockton, and other cities that come here to have essentially illegal activity,” Wingate said.

Last Sunday, a crowd of one thousand people gathered at the intersection of 42nd Avenue and International Boulevard for an illegal sideshow. The sideshow devolved into other illegal activity where people lit fire to an AC Transit bus and looted a big rig. People also shot dozens of rounds of gunfire into the air.

Last week the Oakland City Council backed a measure in the state legislature, Assembly Bill 410, that would slap large fines on sideshow participants, impound their cars for a month, and make even watching a sideshow a crime.

City councilman Noel Gallo represents the district where the mayhem happened and he said he supports the legislation.

“This is not about criminalizing anyone or racial profiling... it’s about protecting each other,” Gallo said. “For anyone who wants to come to Oakland and do a sideshow, you have to know that your car will be towed, confiscated and you will be cited.”

Gallo is scheduled to testify before an Assembly committee on Tuesday and express his support for the measure.