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Bay Area police sideshow response is tale of two cities

By Da Lin

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    VALLEJO, California (KPIX) — Big sideshows with a few hundred spectators erupted in two Bay Area cities overnight but the responses from the Oakland and Vallejo police departments were very different.

Neighbors said Vallejo police went in and broke up a sideshow very quickly. Over in Oakland, neighbors said the police watched a sideshow from a distance and did nothing.

“Spinning and making a lot of noise, a lot of noise,” said Vallejo resident Enrique Sigui.

Screeching tires woke up Sigui. It happened in front of his corner house at the intersection of Columbus Parkway and Georgia Street at around 10:40 p.m. Saturday.

“It’s very dangerous. Very, very dangerous. People were holding on to the windows. The speeds they were turning the cars were very fast. If one of them loses control, they would kill at least 4 or 5 people,” Sigui said.

Neighbors said Vallejo police showed up in about 10 minutes. Police told us they arrested four people for watching and failing to yield to an emergency vehicle.

Officers said they also towed at least one car, placing it on a on a 30-day impound.

While neighbors were happy with the quick response, they wanted the police to impound more cars and ticket more people.

“Anger, frustration and just exhaustion. We’re tired of it,” said James Seusy.

Residents said it was the third time hundreds of cars and spectators have taken over the intersection this year.

Once Vallejo police broke up the sideshow, it appeared some people went to other cities, including Oakland.

At around 2:15 a.m., a sideshow took over the intersection of MacArthur Boulevard and 90th Avenue in East Oakland.

Someone fired a gun into the air.

Many neighbors said they slept through all of it. They said they were used to these events and they felt helpless.

“It happens on a weekly basis. I mean it’s to the point where we don’t even call the police anymore,” said one female resident who declined to provide her name fearing retaliation for speaking up.

Oakland police were at the scene Sunday morning. Two patrol cars monitored the sideshow from a block away.

“We need more (police officers) and the police department needs the support from city leaders,” said the woman, who lives less than a block from the Sunday sideshow.

Some neighbors blamed city policies for the lack of enforcement but the police department in the past has said that, for safety reasons, they try to record license plates and go after the drivers at a later time.

“I can understand those people in Oakland. I feel the same frustration and I’m worried. I’m worried because, if they allow the kids to keep doing this, it’s not going to get any better, it’s going to get worse,” Sigui said.

Police said no injuries were reported in Vallejo. As for Oakland, we were told there were a few car crashes that were connected to the sideshow. Oakland police did not say if anyone was hurt in those crashes.

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