(KRON) — Botts’ dots and police cruisers were not nearly enough to stop rowdy and wild sideshows from happening in Oakland last weekend.
On International Boulevard near 42nd Avenue in East Oakland, dozens of daredevils on dirt bikes popped wheelies and taunted officers who rolled a police cruiser into the middle of a sideshow.
Two hot rods were also recorded on video (seen above) performing simultaneous donuts. One young man tumbled out of a spinning convertible but jumped back into the car moments later, undeterred.
Police officers were outnumbered, and left, while spectators celebrated.
The owner of Oakland’s Feelmore Social Bar, Neena Joiner, had an unwanted front-row view of the sideshow and recorded it on video. Joiner had been trying to drive to her bar when her car was stuck in the chaotic spectacle.
After 45 minutes, Joiner saw an opportunity — a momentary break in the reckless driving exhibition– and took a chance by driving through the intersection to escape.
Joiner said sideshows are a part of Bay Area culture, but they create concerns. “This is Oakland. But it’s about the innocent bystanders that are at the intersection waiting to go home getting through. What happens to them? Their day and time, their possessions, their kids in the car,” Joiner said.
Meanwhile, over on Adeline Street in Oakland, another massive illegal sideshow was underway with more than 60 vehicles and more than 100 spectators.
Like the sideshow on International Boulevard, a small number of officers were overwhelmed by the crowd.
People in the crowd who liked the sideshow attacked a man who reportedly tried to stop it, and a brutal beating ensued. A disturbing and graphic video posted on Twitter shows multiple assailants punching and kicking the man, even after he fell to the ground. The man was bleeding and unconscious on the pavement while the sideshow continued.
Mayor Sheng Thao wrote, “I am outraged by the images I saw in a video captured during an illegal sideshow that took place … and demand that the perpetrators of this senseless act of violence be held accountable. 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.”
“As a council member, I took action to deter sideshows, including the placement of (Botts’) dots on streets to prevent these dangerous activities. As Mayor, I have taken even more action … including traffic safety measures and environmental designs to deter illegal sideshows from happening in our neighborhoods,” Thao wrote.
“My office is currently working with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office on a robust and comprehensive plan to implement sting operations so we can crack down on illegal sideshows that continue to put our residents in harm’s way,” Thao wrote.
Botts’ dots were installed on some Oakland and San Lorenzo streets in sideshow hot spots, but their effectiveness has yet to be seen.
Earlier this year, a white Cadillac was filmed spinning donuts right on top of the dots at one San Lorenzo intersection. An Instagram video uploaded by “it’s the BAY,” shows the Cadillac’s tires spinning easily over the dots.
The Oakland Police Department said it is investigating the Adeline Street sideshow assault.
“OPD Communications Division received multiple calls regarding sideshow activity, as well as an assault on an individual by sideshow participants and spectators,” OPD wrote.
“Officers responded to the area and were advised of an injured individual within the crowd of approximately 60 vehicles, and 100 spectators. Due to the large crowd, additional officers were immediately requested for assistance,” OPD wrote.
The crowd was so large that officers struggled to find the victim. As they searched the area, gunshots range out. The victim eventually self-transported to a hospital and was treated for injuries.
“OPD is actively investigating this incident and does not tolerate egregious behavior,” the Oakland Police Department wrote.
Anyone who has information about illegal Oakland sideshows and violence is encouraged to call OPD’s Felony Assault Unit at 510-238-3426.