Police vow to crack down on illegal sideshows, promise to use air support and make arrests

Oakland police on Friday vowed to be out in force this weekend to crack down on illegal sideshows, which have continued to erupt throughout the city and beyond, sending up air support and promising to issue citations and make arrested. 

Spokesman Johnna Watson also warned a regional team of law enforcement will also be out towing cars involved in the dangerous activity where cars drive fast and do donuts in the middle of the street. 

Last weekend, looters at a sideshow set a white semi-trailer truck and an AC Transit bus on fire in the Fruitvale district, also stripppingthe trailer of its contents -- including paper products - and scattering them about the area as the truck burned.

This past Sunday, Oakland police deployed 50 officers who patrolled the streets on motorcycles keeping an eye out for any potential sideshow activity. Capt. Randy Wingate told KTVU that the department is now letting tow companies know in advance of their strategy.

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 week.

This month, 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 in a previous interview. “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.”

KTVU's Monte Francis contributed to this report.