Another illegal sideshow happened around 1 a.m. Sunday in the Bayview District, during which some shots were fired — possibly just into the air. The SFPD apparently didn't make it there fast enough to shut it down right away, even though they established a new unit for this last week.
A sideshow two weeks ago in San Francisco left one person dead in a shooting that appeared connected to the gathering, and following the incident in his district SF Supervisor Ahsha Safai proposed a new crackdown. As he told KRON4 last week, "A piece of legislation that will increase the the ability in San Francisco and the time to impound vehicles. First offense no less than two weeks." And if it's proven that a person was driving one of the vehicles in the sideshow, they'd be subject to arrest.
The SFPD has also apparently assembled a special unit of officers familiar with handling these large, unruly situations.
"We understand that people want to do this but they are dangerous and it is no fun if someone is killed," said Mayor London Breed in a statement.
With warm weather come more of these impromptu events, which get publicized on social media and take place both in daylight and after-hours, like the one on Saturday night/Sunday morning.
Sideshows — an underground Bay Area tradition going back to the 1980s — involve large gatherings of cars with both participants and onlookers, and they're both a form of entertainment and a way of showing off souped-up, customized vehicles while also burning most of the rubber off their tires spinning donuts in the middle of intersections — or the middle of the Bay Bridge.
The first sideshows popped up in Oakland decades back, and Oakland rapper Richie Rich released his tribute song "Sideshow" in 1990. Key lyric: "Down Bancroft / To the light / Let me warm it up, I hit a donut tight / Chevy on my side / Windows straight tinted / He got hype when he saw me spinnin' / I’m up outta there, sideways to the next light."
The incident on Sunday morning came to the attention of the SFPD at 1:05 a.m., but it's unclear how long it had been going on at that point, or whether they managed to disperse it. As KPIX reports, the incident involved as many as 100 vehicles, and shots were fired, after which police found shell casings on the ground. There were no reports of anyone being injured. Also, no arrests were made.
21-year-old Sacramento resident Cesar Corza Avalos was killed near the Excelsior sideshow on Labor Day, September 7, and two other people were injured.
In the past, efforts to thwart sideshows in the East Bay have involved helicopter patrols and a multi-agency task force, which was assembled during a spate of sideshow activity in the spring of 2019.
In 2005, Oakland came close to passing legislation that would have made being a spectator at a sideshow a jail-able offense, but it seems pretty clear nothing that onerous would make it very far in Oakland or SF these days. San Jose managed to pass similar legislation last year, and San Diego and Los Angeles already had such laws making watching sideshows illegal.