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Officials fearful 'Fast X' movie will trigger potentially deadly sideshows

California law enforcement revving up crackdown on illegal sideshows
California law enforcement revving up crackdown on illegal sideshows 02:36

OAKLAND -- Large crowds gathering for Illegal late night sideshows have become a common weekend occurrence in many Bay Area communities. 

Their growth has been organic with locations revealed by cellphone text or social media post. But now officials are concerned that the cinema release of the latest film in the "Fast and Furious" franchise will spawn even more deadly street racing and sideshows.

Since 2015, instances of illegal street racing, road and bridge takeovers and sideshows -- particularly in Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose -- have quadrupled across the state taking a deadly toll.

The California Highway Patrol said over a five-year period, the state recorded 264 crashes that killed 30 and injured 124 others.

"Our freeways, railways and bridges have been shut down illegally, causing in some cases, folks not being able to make it to the emergency room, and in others just being flat-out late for work," said California Highway Patrol Deputy Commissioner Troy Lukkes at a recent news conference. "These illegal and dangerous activities put people's lives at risk, damage public and private property, and in some cases even resulted in the death of innocent people."  

On Tuesday, the Oakland City Council unanimously passed legislation that levies penalties against people promoting or participating in sideshows.  Anyone who organizes or facilitates an Oakland sideshow will now risk serving up to six months in jail or paying a $1,000 fine. 

Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao has joined in condemning sideshows.

"I am outraged by the images I saw in a video captured during an illegal sideshow that took place yesterday, and demand that the perpetrators of this senseless act of violence be held accountable," Thao said in a statement. "The brutal attack was just the latest example of how illegal sideshows put our communities at risk and create unsafe environments that can lead to violence."  

Earlier this month, Oakland police responded to the sideshow activity in the area of the Alameda County Courthouse south of Lake Merritt  and set up a perimeter of several blocks. 

A vehicle was lit on fire as it sat on 10th street next to the building that houses Crash Champions Collision Repair. As the crowd watched and cheered the vehicle burn, a masked individual was seen getting into a Subaru, which he then used to ram the burning anns vehicle. 

Oakland sideshow
Oakland sideshow early Saturday morning, May 6, 2023. CBS

And it's not just a Bay Area issue.

"This is not just a law enforcement issue; this is a community issue that endangers lives — young and old, innocent as well as those that are engaged in this reckless activity," Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said at a news conference. "The message today is clear: street racing and sideshows are dangerous. They result in death and serious injury, not only to the participant, but also to the spectators and community members."

Moore referred to the "Fast and Furious" series, which they believe have a large impact on people who are looking to copy the stunts they see in the action-packed movies. 

"Movies like this are fantasy," he said. 

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