San Jose residents have mixed reaction to police sideshow enforcement

Sideshow enforcement in San Jose over the weekend netted four arrests, a handful of cars impounded and dozens of spectators cited. At least three sideshows occurred throughout the city Saturday night. On Monday, police responded to criticism from residents that they aren’t doing enough.

"This is pretty much an ongoing thing," said San Jose Police Sergeant Christian Camarillo. "Every weekend we respond."

Dozens of San Jose police officers broke up a sideshow Saturday just before midnight at Phelan Avenue and South Seventh Street. Cars were seen racing by, running red lights and driving erratically, evading officers.

Moments prior, cars were doing donuts and other dangerous maneuvers to the delight of hundreds of spectators.

In the end, police impounded five cars, arrested one person for reckless driving and three other people for possessing weapons.

"They were handguns," said Sgt. Camarillo. "They were semi-automatic handguns. I believe one of them was a ghost gun which is a whole another rabbit hole I don’t want to go down right now."

Police said the same group of cars performed similar stunts at the intersections of Branham and Monterey and Concourse and Lundy.

Video captured a passenger’s door wide open as the car swerved out of control. Another car had people hanging out of the windows.

"Unfortunately, some of these sideshows are getting really big and it’s not a situation where we can send two officers to handle it," said Sgt. Camarillo. "We don’t have a task force or a unit dedicated to this."

"We have had incidences like other neighborhoods," said Trudy Ellerbeck of San Jose.

Ellerbeck is with the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Association. She worries about pedestrians and drivers inadvertently caught in the middle.

San Jose Police understand the community is riled up and said they’re making a dent despite limited resources.

"We are glad with the results of this past weekend but obviously there needs to be a bigger plan, there needs to be a bigger strategy," said Ellerbeck.

"It’s not just a San Jose problem," said Sgt. Camarillo. "These groups are going from city to city, from county to county, maybe one day the agencies will come together and come up with a solution."

Some residents are calling for a regional task force in the South Bay. San Jose Police are reminding people of the consequences. Forty spectators slapped with a costly citation and cars impounded for 30 days with a cost of $3,000.

Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Azenith at and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or