ANTIOCH, Calif. - Antioch's mayor and police chief on Monday vowed to crack down on sideshows after two weekend illegal car events where a patrol car was vandalized while an officer was driving.
Mayor Lamar Thorpe said the sideshows were eventually "disrupted and mitigated," and he tweeted out a video Sunday night of a large group of people pushing and kicking a patrol car while yelling at the police.
However, he added, this behavior is "unacceptable and will not be tolerated." He credited the officers for "exercising the utmost restraint" during this melee, and he noted that he appreciates the cultural change already occurring in the police department.
"I can assure you that those who are responsible will be identified and will be dealt with accordingly," Thorpe said Monday at a news conference.
Police Chief Steven Ford called the weekend sideshows "dangerous, disturbing and unnecessary, which defies all aspects of public safety."
He added that an officer was also assaulted.
"It will be a zero-tolerance approach to the sideshows in the city of Antioch and all resources at my disposal will be used to mitigate these activities," Ford said.
Another sideshow was supposed to have occurred Monday about 1:30 a.m, but Thorpe said it was thwarted.
He vowed that cars involved in sideshows will be impounded for 30 days and people fined up to $3,000.
Thorpe said that the city has purposely tried to avoid assuming that all bystanders are actual sideshow spectators.
But now, the city is fed up.
"Therefore, to deal with spectators who want to cause harm, the city council will consider a measure that authorizes the police to arrest and fine spectators where you can face up to six months in jail and $1,000 fine," he said.
Thorpe added forcefully: "Don't come to Antioch because we'll be waiting for you with the full force of the Antioch Police Department."
Sgt. Rob Green also sounded a warning for parents, noting that many sideshow participants have been teenagers.
"I want parents out there that are buying these cars that are high-powered and probably out of their skill range - you guys need to think about that, you're in care, custody and control of juveniles," Green said.
Green also said it's a challenge at times to confront sideshows because officers are often outnumbered.
"Typically anywhere from 50 to 75 cars and up to 100 to 200 people, versus six officers," Green said.