Police investigate large early Sunday morning sideshows in Antioch

A large sideshow was  held in Antioch at the Lone Tree Way and Bluerock Drive/Golf Course Road intersection early Sunday morning, April 18, 2021. Photos by Sharron Scott.

150 cars; Mayor condemns them as “dangerous”; councilwoman attends one, claims they were to honor the life of teen shot, killed Saturday evening, says they probably saved lives”; started in Pittsburg continued to Brentwood

By Allen Payton

According to reports by Antioch residents on social media, there were two car sideshows that attracted 100’s of people, early Sunday morning. Dawn Clark posted in a Facebook group the following, “Antioch: who else was awake at 1:30 am because cars revving their engines, squealing tires doing donuts and a large group cheering them on. It went beyond 2 am.”

A video of a sideshow at the Lone Tree Way and Bluerock Drive/Golf Course Road intersection and photos were posted by resident Sharron Q. Scott on Facebook showing the size of the crowd and some cars spinning “donuts” and burning rubber in the intersection. Scott claimed to have called the police, but they didn’t respond. Efforts to reach the Antioch Police for details about the incidents on Sunday were unsuccessful. However, APD Public Information Officer Lt. Tara Mendez responded, Monday afternoon.

“There were sideshows in three different locations. It started in Pittsburg, then to Antioch, then to Brentwood,” Mendez said. “In Antioch there were two locations, one at 18th and A Streets and the other was at Lone Tree Way and the Blue Rock Drive and Golf Course Road intersection.”

Asked if the police responded and what occurred she responded, “When you have crowds of that magnitude, and that kind of event, you have to get onto those at the beginning. When people start to scatter the public safety impact is huge.”

“All of our lines were full of people calling them in. We did respond to the events, but we were not able to respond in the way necessary,” Mendez continued. “These events are under investigation. We have videos, we have pictures.”

Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker posted this photo of the Lone Tree Way sideshow on Facebook on Sunday, April 18, 2021.

District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker who attended the sideshow on Lone Tree Way responded to comments on Facebook writing, “a 16 year old was killed yesterday this was their was (way) of honoring his life and mourning his death. As dangerous as it is fortunately this event probably saved lives last night lets hope more violence doesn’t follow.”

In response to her explanation Scott Truitt asked in a comment, “you’re joking right? You’re making excuses for this?” Torres-Walker responded, “I don’t make excuse [sic] I was simply saying it was this or the alternative which was more violence. And why are you coming after me what have you done to stop this mess besides complain. You don’t know how bad it can get keep trying to make me the problem instead of getting up and doing something to prevent this remember I just got here what [sic] your excuse.”

Torres-Walker’s comments on Facebook on Sunday, April 18, 2021.

A resident’s message on Facebook to Thorpe regarding Torres-Walker and the sideshows on Sunday, April 18, 2021

In a post on Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe’s social media page, a resident wrote, “my daughter in laws [sic] father died as ambulance could not get to him on time. Ken Smith was his name, he was 50 yrs old out of Brentwood. The ambulance could not get to him because of the side shows in area.”

A call to East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Public Information Officer and Fire Marshall Steve Aubert asking for verification of that information was not returned prior to publication time.

In emails to Torres-Walker on Sunday she was asked, how do you know that the reason for the sideshows was the shooting death of the Antioch teen Saturday evening, please? Did you speak to anyone who was at one or more of the sideshows? Did Antioch Police Officers tell you that? Or did you get that info from social media?

She was later emailed, “Someone claimed on Facebook, today that you were in attendance at the sideshows, last night. Is that true? Were you in attendance at one or more of them? If so, why? And did you call the police about them? If so, please provide the details. If not, please explain why.

Then the Herald obtained the screenshot of her social media interaction, in which she posted a photo from the sideshow on Lone Tree Way and wrote, “was curious so stepped out and APD is outnumbered tonight over 100 cars.”

On Monday, Torres-Walker was asked via email about the photo she posted from the sideshow on Lone Tree Way, “did you call police or were they already on the scene when you arrived? What time did you arrive there, please?”

She did not respond to any of the questions prior to publication time.

Thorpe also commented about the sideshows, condemning them as dangerous in a post on his Mayor’s Facebook page, Sunday afternoon, writing, “Early this morning I reached out to Acting Police Chief Tony Morefield concerning a large sideshow in East County.

Around 12:40 am, a large sideshow that consisted of approximately 60-80 vehicles came into Antioch after hitting Pittsburg earlier in the evening.

While in Antioch, they took over the intersection of E. 18th and A Street. The crowd set off aerial fireworks and encircled the intersection. There were approximately 200 spectators.

A drone was used to capture the sideshow and several license plates. This angered some of the spectators who tried to down the drone with high powered lasers.

The same crowd then moved to Lone Tree Way and Golf Course Road. Next, they moved to Brentwood. A criminal investigation is underway. For those inconvenienced, please know our police department is working to hold those responsible accountable.

While these large-scale side shows are not common in Antioch, smaller sideshows seem very common. I’m sure you’ve seen the tire marks. Therefore, as part of the upcoming budget process, Councilmember Mike Barbanica and I will be advancing measures to curtail sideshows by investing in small roundabouts at neighborhood intersections that seem to be magnets for small sideshows.

***Sideshows are DANGEROUS and have claimed lives unnecessarily including in Antioch***”

The final side show was reported to be on Sand Creek Road near The Streets of Brentwood shopping center.

Antioch Police Press Release

A Monday evening press release by Lieutenant Powell Meads of the Antioch Police Field Services Division reported that, “On April 18, 2021, at approximately 12:31 AM, the Antioch Police Department received a BOLO (Be on the Lookout) from the Pittsburg Police Department regarding a large sideshow that was occurring in Pittsburg, with the participants possibly heading towards Antioch. At approximately 12:41 AM, APD began receiving numerous reports of sideshow type activity as a group of approximately 150 vehicles made their way from Pittsburg to the intersection of 18th Street and “A” Street in Antioch. Once at that intersection, all directions of traffic were blocked by vehicles and spectators as a large-scale side show took place.

The large group then drove to the intersection of Lone Tree Way and Golf Course Road, where they overtook the entire intersection, and another sideshow took place. The group then proceeded eastbound and left the city limits.

Antioch officers were limited in their immediate response due to the overwhelming number of participants in the illegal sideshow. The investigation has been turned over to the Antioch Police Department’s Traffic Bureau. They are currently collecting and reviewing surveillance video and drone footage to assist in the identification of those who participated in the sideshow.

Anyone with further information or who witnessed the sideshow is asked to contact Sergeant Chang at (925)779-6864 or apdtraffic@antiochca.gov. You may also text-a-tip to 274637 (CRIMES) using the key word ANTIOCH.

UPDATE: Barbanica Offers Comments, Claims An Additional Sideshow Occurred in Antioch

In a post on his council Facebook page Monday night, District 2 Councilman Mike Barbanica wrote, “Early Sunday morning I learned of the sideshows that occurred at Somersville and Delta Fair, E 18th and A, Lone Tree at Blue Rock and then Brentwood. As you may recall, I have been opposed to sideshows and talked about them before and after the election. My position has not changed.

Several months ago, I started reaching out to police agencies. I obtained information on how other agencies are handling them and even writing warrants to impound vehicles, even after the sideshow, putting the warrant information into the system and taking cars for 30 days. All of this information was passed on to APD.

This morning I called A/Chief Morefield. He confirmed to me that this warrant process is still taking place and that the sideshows from this weekend are under investigation and the possibility of pursuing charges is very real, including vehicle impounds.

I also reached out to Assemblyman Jim Frazier about this and asked about strengthening some laws to include using technology to identify those involved. He was very helpful in connecting me with the local Commander of CHP who is looking into some legislative opinions on sideshows through their state liaison in Sacramento. I want our city to have every disposable means to put a stop to this.

Today I was asked by the press to respond to this and what I thought about sideshows. I was also specifically asked about roundabouts and my thoughts. Here is what I told them:

Sideshows can be very dangerous for our community, not only to the people participating, but also the people that are watching. We have all seen videos of people injured at these shows, at times seriously injured. Approx. two years ago I got caught up in a sideshow while picking someone up from the Oakland Airport and after about 20 minutes we all had to drive over center medians to get through the area. We need to remember the family that is rushing to an emergency in a car that can’t get through and nobody knows they are sitting and waiting. One of our local sideshows this weekend was just a few blocks from a hospital and we just can’t have this here or any other location within our community.

In terms of roundabouts, I am not opposed, but we have to realize that we are in a large community and where do they stop. We have a lot of intersections. At this point, all options are on the table and I would like to meet with Traffic Engineering to listen to their ideas, but enforcement is a reality to these events.”

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

 

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

 

 

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the attachments to this post:


Torres-Walker’s comments to Scott Truitt on FB 041821


Resident’s mssg to Thorpe re Torres-Walker & sideshows 041821


Torres-Walker photo of Lone Tree Way sideshow 041821


Sideshow at Lone Tree & Bluerock-Golf Course Rd 041821


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