Oakland police continue to crack down on sideshows that keep popping up in the city.
Illegal sideshows are considered dangerous to those who are inside of the cars and those standing in the crowd, but police say Sunday’s episode at 42nd and International involved danger on another level.
“We had anticipated sideshow,” Officer Johnna Watson with the Oakland Police Department said. “We had special detail working on that but we reached a level of about a thousand people.”
“And you have to remember during that time, we have shots being fired in unknown directions,” Sergeant Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said. “Bottles and rocks being thrown at officers and deputies.”
Around 8:30 p.m. members of the sideshow crowd surrounded a commercial transport truck and an AC Transit bus. Officials say that the truck driver was held at gunpoint while being removed from the vehicle.
He was uninjured, however, the truck was set on fire. The transit bus windows were broken and the bus was also set on fire.
“As our deputies approached the bus there were concerns that the bus or the tractor-trailer that was near it, would explode,” Sergeant Kelly said.
Police say they were clearing the area in order for the fire to be extinguished when gunshots were heard in the crowd.
Firefighters were eventually able to extinguish the fires and the sideshow was cleared by 10 p.m.
Authorities say an Alameda sheriff’s deputy sustained a major leg injury during the incident. No other injuries were reported.
Even being outnumbered, officers say they arrests were made, around 200 citations issued, multiple cars were towed and firearms were recovered.
“We are sending the message right now to those who participate in illegal sideshows activity that moving forward we are going to be treating this like a large scale event such as a mass demonstration or protest in the city,” Officer Watson said.
“We will be working with Oakland police in the coming weeks,” Sergeant Kelly said. ” We will be beefing up our presence in the city and joining forces with the Oakland Police Department.”
The Oakland Police Department released a statement stating:
“The City of Oakland recognizes that illegal sideshow activity is not unique to Oakland. This is a regional issue that affects our neighborhoods, businesses and the quality of life. Historically, illegal sideshow activity has led to serious injury or death of spectators and or participants. The City will continue to work with City Council, City Divisions/resources, our neighboring cities and other law enforcement partners to find long term solutions to illegal sideshow.”
The department says a large team of law enforcement will be dedicated specifically to illegal sideshows, along with air support and regional law enforcement to issue citations, make arrests and tow vehicles.
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