Oakland’s new sideshow task force ready to patrol streets

Bay Area

OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — The Oakland Police Department is cracking down on illegal sideshow activity.

Saturday was the first night the city’s new sideshow task force will be patrolling the streets.

They want to bring safety and calm back to the streets of Oakland. They also want to send a message to outsiders not to bring this activity to Oakland — because law enforcement is watching.

“We are going to eradicate sideshow in the city of Oakland.”

That’s what Oakland Police Chief Leronne Armstrong hopes will happen as this new sideshow task force hits the streets.

KRON4’s Amanda Hari drove around with an officer as she showed some areas where they see the most sideshow activity, including near High Street.

“It’s called The Bowl, and that’s where you’d see a lot of the videos used to be but we have a heavy presence there and we’ll even shut this entire intersection down,” Armstrong said.

On the streets you can see skid marks from cars doing donuts.

Deputy Chief Chris Bolton is part of the task force. He said over the years, sideshow activity has become a lot more than just reckless and dangerous driving.

“We have the prevalence of firearms,” Bolton said. “Shooting negligently into the air. Sideshow tricks or tactics that put people at greater risk.”

He said they plan to stop these acts with best practices.

“Mitigates the risk of pursuit,” Bolton said. “Mitigates the use of lethal force or other types of force because we are still concerned with their safety.”

Bolton says they are prepared to detain, cite and arrest people.

They’ll also be towing vehicles.

“Just because you don’t get a citation or a tow tonight be prepared to see us in the near future,” Bolton said. “Because we are taking video surveillance, we are working with community partners and we’re doing follow up investigations to do seizure warrants where you may not see your car for a very long time afterwards.”

The new task force is possibly because of funding authorized by the Oakland City Council.

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