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‘Chaotic’ sideshow pushes Oakland police resources, staffing to be added

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Oakland police said on Monday that they will work with other law enforcement agencies next weekend to try to prevent a repetition of sideshow activity on Sunday night in which a truck and an AC Transit bus were burned and an officer was seriously injured.

“This weekend, you will see a large of contingent of law enforcement dedicated specifically to illegal sideshows, accompanied by air support and our regional law enforcement partners, as we team up to deter and take enforcement action by issuing citations, making arrests and towing vehicles,” Oakland police said in a statement.

“Violent, disruptive, illegal behavior will not be tolerated in the city of Oakland. Our investigators will be working to identify those responsible for committing crimes and participating in illegal sideshow activity.”

Oakland police said they had increased staffing in anticipation of illegal sideshow activity in their city on Sunday night.

Despite the bolstered staffing, they said that by the middle of Sunday evening the number of sideshow participants increased to about 1,000 spectators and that vehicles were spread out in various locations of Oakland.

“This stretched the department’s resources beyond its capacity. Simultaneously, there were multiple Priority 1 emergency calls unrelated to sideshow activity that our officers were committed to,” Oakland police said.

Police said that around 8:30 p.m. on Sunday members of the sideshow crowd surrounded a commercial transport truck and an AC Transit bus at 42nd Avenue and International Boulevard.

They said the driver of the commercial transport truck was removed at gunpoint and the truck was set on fire. The driver was uninjured, they said.

Police said the AC Transit bus’s windows were broken out before it was also set ablaze. Again, no one was injured.

As officers attempted to clear the area so the Oakland Fire Department could extinguish the fire, gunshots were heard and delayed the department’s response, police said.

They said the area eventually was cleared, both fires were extinguished and the sideshow activity concluded by 10 p.m. on Sunday. Alameda County sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Ray Kelly said a female deputy who responded to what he described as “the chaotic scene” at 42nd Avenue and International Boulevard suffered “a very significant injury to her knee” that will require surgery and a long rehabilitation process. Kelly said the crowd of about 1,000 people “was almost impossible to control” because “there were not enough cops on duty in the East Bay” to contain it.

Kelly said it was “lucky” no one was killed and no one except the sheriff’s deputy was seriously injured.

Oakland police said officers issued nearly 200 citations, numerous vehicles were towed and several firearms were recovered.

Oakland police said the sheriff’s office, the California Highway Patrol, and San Leandro, Hayward, Fremont and Alameda police will help them next weekend.

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