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Wild night of Oakland sideshows caught on camera

Oakland police respond to wild night of sideshows
Oakland police respond to wild night of sideshows 03:39

OAKLAND -- Violence and chaos swept across Oakland on Sunday as participants of multiple sideshows fired gunshots into the air and set cars on fire. Residents said a sweeping response from the police made a big difference.

Police said that, from west Oakland to east Oakland, sideshow participants and spectators took over at least six major intersections in the early-morning hours.

The real fireworks happened at the intersection of High Street and Foothill Boulevard around 4:30 a.m.

As drivers were burning rubber, dozens and dozens of officers were coordinating and blocking the escape routes. It all unfolded near neighbor Debbie Wilson's house.

"I applaud them, I applaud them. They need to arrest them and keep them in (jail)," Wilson said.

The 65-year-old said monthly sideshows near her house hurt her health. She recently suffered a stroke.

"I take seizure medication. I've been having strokes and seizures so this kind of chaos I don't need around me," Wilson said. "It terrorizes me and it scares me."

Neighbors say sideshows are dangerous for everyone.

"They crash sometimes really close to our house. For example, the neighbor's house right there -- they crashed into the gate and made a big dent in it. I'm worried what if they crash into my house?" asked Christian Castellanos.

After police blocked all exit routes trapping the participants and spectators, they began writing tickets and towing cars. They were even seen arresting a few young people who tried to drive around the police barricades to leave the scene.

Footage at the scene showed one driver ramming a white Infinity into two police cars and pushing his way out of the area.

Oakland Sideshow
Cars set ablaze at a sideshow in Oakland April 14, 2024. KPIX

"Make them pay, we're paying, we're suffering, make them pay!" Wilson said.

"What impressed me is they not only came, they cited those that were in the middle of the sideshow and they arrested other people," said Oakland councilman Noel Gallo who represents the Fruitvale District.

He said that, typically, cops just disperse the crowds and let them go. Residents often ask why can't the cops block them in and cite them every time?

"The response I get is 'Well, we don't have enough officers. Well, we don't have enough money in overtime to pay for officers to be here,'" Gallo said.

Police say it can be very dangerous, especially when they're so outnumbered by the large crowds. Aside from from hitting police cars, video showed two cars, likely stolen, set on fire.

Wilson called on police to shut sideshows down for her health and the health of the city.

"I'm old school and from the South. They want to shoot and fight somebody and drive crazy. Send them to the Army, give them an ultimatum," Wilson said.

Many neighbors agree, saying cops can't arrest their way out of this problem. They say  parents have to do a better job and be more engaged with the young people.

Oakland police did not release the number of citations and towed cars from the Sunday sideshows.

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