A sprawling sideshow in Oakland sparked violent clashes between fans and angry residents – with shocking videos of the violence posted online.
Fast and Furious-inspired events regularly draw hundreds of people to watch drag drivers do extreme donuts on the streets of California cities while a circle of spectators looks on.
Amidst the chaos of vehicles careening out of control at 50mph as onlookers dive to avoid them, residents maddened by the incidents have clashed with those worried about the ugly scene.
Dozens of fights have been caught on camera, with cars being set on fire and riots by other drivers who want to stop racing.
Meanwhile, local police have been criticized for failing to tackle the crime that threatens to overtake the west coast city.
Shocking footage shows a car being set on fire as another car plows into it and fireworks are set off in the streets of Auckland amid widespread chaos.
A video showed a local resident throwing a red bucket at a car while it was mid-doughnut. The driver responded by stopping and violently attacking the man before bolting from his car
A clip posted on Twitter shows a middle-aged man with gray hair trying to stop a sideshow, before being beaten by an angry mob.
Surrounded by two skidding vehicles at an intersection overlooked by large terraced houses, the man approaches a car with a red bucket, which he slams into the window.
The driver reacted by screeching his car to a sudden stop before charging towards the occupant.
As the resident backed up onto a footpath, the balaclava-clad driver – wearing a black hoodie, gray tracksuit bottoms and black crocs – punched him in the head.
The man does not try to fight back, and even as he falls to the ground and goes limp, the attacker continues his violent assault by kicking him in the head as onlookers gather around to watch.
A video shot from the sidewalk shows how dozens of people in hoodies – mainly men – shouted to film the brawl and no one intervened.
On another occasion, an Oakland sideshow escalated when a car spun out of control and hit a spectator, who rolled twice to the ground before getting up.
The car’s tire smoke is also captured on video as a driver donuts and passengers hang precariously out the back window.
A broken fire hydrant is seen in a clip spewing water at least 10 feet into the air as a car skids in a nearby circle.
Video of the attack shows the resident trying to retreat as the driver repeatedly hit him in the head. Residents have warned people on the sideshow — often wearing masks — often pull guns when people threaten to take pictures of their faces or license plates.
High-speed ho-downs are a common sight in Oakland, with sideshows running through the streets, often turning into violent clashes and brawls between revelers and residents. A video shows a near miss when a skidding car almost runs over a spectator
Onlookers watched and jeered at a balaclava-clad driver in gray sweatpants who violently attacked a resident who threw a bucket at his car.
Further footage shows fireworks being set off in the street while parked cars are set on fire, with car horns honking and people screaming in the background.
A driver repeatedly rams a burning vehicle, while a hooded man tries to take a picture of his face with a phone.
Sharing a video of the chaos on Twitter, a resident slammed the local mayor for presiding over the chaos.
‘A man was brutally attacked at an Oakland sideshow and a hydrant is going off!’ They said.
‘This Auckland, aka Thaoland Mayor Sheng Thao has lost all control!’
Another man described Auckland as a ‘war zone’ while others condemned those who filmed residents being beaten on the streets.
Many speculated that he might be dead, and questioned why law enforcement was not present.
American writer Michael Shellenberger posted some poignant videos, adding: ‘Voters in Oakland thought law enforcement was too strict and so elected a progressive DA last fall who stopped enforcing many laws.
‘The result is lawlessness, “side shows” and attacks carried out with impunity.’
‘Mayor Sheng Thao condemns the beatings but no one listens to him because he advocates defunding the police and so sideshows continue to terrorize residential neighborhoods, forcing working-class families into their homes, fearing assault,’ he added.
Shellenberger said police are ‘helpless to stop the criminal sideshow’ because the mayor and DA Pamela Price refuse to prosecute ‘non-violent crimes’.
Oakland is home to the sideshow, which was born in the 1980s as a peaceful way for car enthusiasts to show off their rides alongside a carnival in the city’s Foothill neighborhood.
However, the tradition has evolved into something far more gruesome, with high-speed spade throwing often resulting in injuries and fights.
Oakland resident Cheryl Stewart said people will ‘pull guns on you’ at sideshow events.
Footage shows fireworks being set off in the street while parked cars are set on fire, with car horns blaring and people screaming in the background.
Outraged residents accused the driver who attacked the man carrying a bucket of potentially killing him, and mocked those who demanded to film instead of help.
“You can see hundreds of people,” Stewart, who has worked in technology marketing and lives in the city, told the New York Post.
‘Then they start skidding, drifting and donuting their cars, one driver after another.
‘Take a picture of the license plate and people will pull a gun on you.
Drivers wear bandanas or ski masks or covid masks. Some windshields are illegally tinted.
‘They shoot guns in the sky. Any activity goes on. It’s like ‘Fast and Furious’ has come to our neighborhood.’
In the nearby town of Stockton, an 18-year-old boy was shot at a sideshow event earlier this month.
Stockton police said they are investigating the homicide, which occurred just after 2 a.m. on July 2 in the area of Golden Gate Avenue and Main Street.
“Shots were fired near Main St./Rendon St. around 2:30 a.m.,” the force said.
‘The victim, an 18-year-old male from Sacramento, was in the area when he was shot.
‘At this point in the investigation, no motive or suspect information is known.’
The force has appealed for the community’s help in the case, including video from the night and any information about the perpetrator.
‘If you know anything or saw anything, please come forward,’ they said, offering a cash reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest.
Sideshows have also caused chaos in other major cities – including street racers in Los Angeles who donuts came within inches of a crowd as a man threw a blowtorch into the air – in shocking scenes caught on camera.
Even the coronavirus lockdown didn’t stop California car enthusiasts from flocking to sideshows during the first months of the pandemic.
About 300 people gathered in Sacramento to watch the cars perform stunts during a massive sideshow at Easter 2020, and an 18-year-old man was taken into police custody after he fled the scene and crashed into a California Highway Patrol car.
The Oakland Police Department has warned those who take part in ‘illegal sideshows’ that their vehicles could be towed and impounded with a 30-day hold – even though residents say officers are powerless to stop the lawlessness that has gripped the city in recent times.
Police shared safety tips for residents visiting the sideshow, urging those involved not to ‘risk your life’
Residents responded to police posts on Facebook, urging them to crush their cars and post evidence online.
Oakland police also posted safety tips for residents visiting the sideshow, urging them not to ‘risk your life’ by approaching those involved.
‘Please do not engage with people participating in sideshows,’ the department warned. ‘Don’t risk life’.
‘If you encounter sideshow activity or if you are caught in the middle of a sideshow, find a safe alternative route that allows you to bypass the sideshow activity,’ they added.
‘If you are involved in a vehicle collision with a sideshow participant, do not confront the person, instead call 911 to report the incident.’
The department asks people to report any illegal sideshows to email@example.com.