San Jose sideshow: 24-year-old arrested after hitting spectator

San Jose city leaders on Monday promised consequences for those involved in a sideshow over the weekend that left at least one person injured and a police vehicle damaged.

San Jose police announced that 24-year-old Aidan Rheault was arrested in connection with the sideshow that injured a spectator on Saturday.

Investigators said Rheault hit the spectator with his car while participating in the dangerous activity. The sideshow blocked a reserve officer from reaching the injured person.

"Blocking an emergency response vehicle trying to respond to an injured individual is unconscionable. There’s no excuse for that," said Mayor Matt Mahan.

Disturbing video of the incident was posted to social media, leaving San Jose leaders in shock.

Around 7 p.m. on Saturday, the sideshow blocked the intersection of Winchester Boulevard and Olin Avenue near the upscale Santana Row shopping center.

One spectator suffered an undisclosed injury when hit by the car driven by Rheault. When a reserve San Jose police officer responded to a call for help, his vehicle was surrounded and vandalized by several spectators. Some climbed on the hood of his SUV and kicked in the windshield.

"Seeing that here was pretty disturbing, especially when all the men were jumping on the windshield. So, there’s fear," Santa Clara resident Umesh Malhotra said Saturday.

The officer was trapped inside his vehicle while the crowd outside jeered.

"We’ve seen in this video age everybody wants to get on social media doing all kinds of things. This is another way to get that kind of attention," said Daniel Maxwell, a lecturer on criminal justice at the University of New Haven.

Acting Police Chief Paul Joseph, who attended a Juneteenth ceremony at San Jose City Hall on Monday, would not comment on the incident.

However, he pointed to his previously released statement that read in part: "This conduct is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our city. Detectives and Crime Analytics from our Real Time Intelligence Center are actively following up to identify all those responsible."

Last August, Mahan and other officials announced greater collaboration with social media giants such as Facebook, Instagram, and X to suspend user accounts of those who promote, participate in or post sideshow images. The mayor said that coupled with a nearly completed license plate camera system, additional penalties, and more officers, sideshows in the city have been reduced by 50%.

"We’re not always going to be able to prevent or stop in the moment every crime, but you can bet we’re gonna follow up and identify the responsible individuals," Mahan said.

Two days after the crimes, tire marks were still visible on the street Monday.

Experts said the lone officer, who suffered minor injuries, did all he could given the chaotic conditions.

"They’re really not trained, single-handedly, to tackle a large group of people," said Maxwell. "Even though we expect police officers to show up and take charge."

Police detectives said the crowd dispersed before backup officers arrived.

Investigators are using all available technology to identify and arrest those who participated in or watched the sideshow.

The San Jose Police Officers’ Association sent a statement to KTVU that read, "An absolute shameful example of parental failure and a complete disregard for civilized behavior. The parents and lawbreakers should be absolutely embarrassed."

Jesse Gary is a reporter based in the station's South Bay bureau. Follow him on Instagram, @jessegontv and on Facebook, @JesseKTVU.