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Oakland police concerned as illegal sideshows continue during COVID-19 pandemic

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) – You would think that concerns related to COVID-19 would deter illegal sideshow activity, but so far that has not been the case. 

There was another illegal sideshow over the weekend. 

For health and safety reasons, the shelter-in-place order and coronavirus has pretty much brought life as we once knew it here in the Bay Area to a complete stop. 

What you are looking at here in the video, however, are tire burnout marks made Saturday during an illegal sideshow, one activity even COVID-19 has not been able to deter. 

“It really endangers our entire community when large groups gather. They’re not social distancing. We didn’t see anyone with their personal protection. No face masks. That is a concern for us,” Oakland Police Spokesperson Johnna Watson said. 

Police video in the area of the Port of Oakland shows a long line of vehicles that they say participated in the illegal event.

“What you’re going to see in the video, once we arrived at Middle Harbor Road just pass Maritime, that’s where we had about a hundred cars gathered and they were involved in illegal sideshow activity,” Watson said.

Law enforcement has always maintained that participating in a sideshow is inherently dangerous for drivers, passengers and spectators. 

However, Officer Watson says the coronavirus introduces another layer of vulnerability for Oakland police officers.

“Our first responders are put at risk as well. We made these car stops Saturday night. We all had our PPE personal protection equipment but to put us and force us into a situation is very challenging. Our resources and services are needed in our community to answer the 911 calls. This diverts our resources to something that really could be avoided,” Watson said. 

OPD officers arrested several participants. Several attendees received citations. No vehicles were towed. 

Officer Watson warns that vehicles can be impounded.

“You have a choice. You have an option. You don’t have to come to Oakland and participate in illegal sideshow. If you do these are the things that are going to happen, citation, tows and arrests,” Watson said. 

Police say the sideshow participants they made contact with were not from Oakland.

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