On Monday, Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe held a press conference to address Saturday night sideshows that damaged an Antioch Police Department vehicles and led to a pursuit to Elk Grove where two people were detained.
Thorpe announced the council will be taking up a policy dealing with sideshow spectators which includes arrests and fining spectators—they could face up to six-months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
On May 3, the City of Pittsburg approved a nearly identical proposal where those who participate and watch sideshows on private property could face a misdemeanor, subject to six-months in jail or a fine of up to $1,000. San Jose, Fairfield and Vallejo have implemented similar ordinances.
“These sideshows caused unnecessary disturbances, unnecessary delays, and unnecessarily put lives in danger,” stated Thorpe who said last year he declared “Antioch was a no sideshow zone and we were not messing around with anybody as it relates to sideshows. I am here to tell you again we are still not messing around with anyone. These types of activities are not welcome in our city.”
Thorpe said since his statement last year, with the exception of two attempts, Antioch has not had any large-scale sideshows and those that did occur were quickly disrupted. They had utilized a team to help make them alert of when sideshows might pop up.
Thorpe stated he asked Chief Steve Ford how something like this would happen and why didn’t they know about it.
“In short, our proactive intelligence efforts were hampered unfortunately from personnel matters related to the ongoing investigation with the District Attorney and FBI,” stated Thorpe. “I want to assure the public today that it has been rectified and has already been to test.”
He continued stating a third sideshow was prevented later in the early morning hours–at approx 1:30 am Sunday.
“As we enter the summer months, we want to remind organizers and participants of sideshows that if you come to Antioch your vehicles will be impounded for 30-days, costing you or your parents costing you $3k, which is only to get the vehicle out,” stated Thorpe. “You will also be issued a citation at $300.”
Thorpe stated while they focused on the cars, they have not focused on spectators.
“The images and spectators attempting to damage public property or engage the life of police officers are not acceptable by any stretch of the imagination and will not be tolerated in the city of Antioch,” said Thorpe. “From day 1, I have worked tirelessly in a bi-partisan fashion with the entire city council to build a culture of trust and respect by our police officers to all segments of our city, increasing accountability and transparency.”
He called for mutual respect between police officers and those interacting with police.
“I want to thank our officers for exercising the upmost restraint during this altercation that has been displayed on social media where a police vehicle was being vandalized and I can assure you those responsible will be identified and will be dealt with accordingly,” stated Thorpe.
Thorpe then stated the council will be taking up a policy dealing with spectators which includes arrests and fining spectators—face up to 6-months in jail and a $1,000 fine.
“Don’t come to Antioch because we will be waiting for you with the full force of the Antioch Police Department, our allied agencies and appropriate resources to ensure that it does not happen in our community,” said Thorpe.
Antioch Police Chief Steve Ford said he spoke with great concern for community safety stating the city experienced two sideshows which were extremely dangerous, disturbing and unnecessary.
“These incidents resulted in an officer being assaulted and a police vehicle being vandalized,” said Ford. “These incidents bring a great danger to the responding officers, participants and bystanders in the environment as a whole. Let me be clear, violent disruptive behavior will not be tolerated.”
Ford had a message for those not from the area.
“For those from out of town, you are welcome to enjoy our city, our parks and amenities, however, if you participate in sideshow activity, you’re vehicle will be towed,” said Ford. “Moving forward, there will be a zero tolerance approach to sideshows in the city of Antioch and all resources at my disposal will be used to mitigate these activities.”
Ford said they will investigate with great effort to identify those who were in attendance.
“All individuals identified will be met with the full extend of the law,” said Ford. “If you think you have gotten away with sideshows in the past, please understand we will do our research, we will come to your home and we will confiscate your vehicles after sideshow activity.”
He urged the public not to facilitate or participate in sideshows within the city of Antioch.
Antioch Sgt. Rob Greene, who is in charge of the traffic unit, called sideshows dangerous and thanked the community for reporting them, taking video and snapping photographs to help them investigate.
“We are bringing proactive patrols and monitoring various outlets to predict when these events come in,” stated Greene who acknowledged they work with the Brentwood Police Department, Oakley Police Department, Pittsburg Police Department, Contra Costa County Sheriff and California Highway Patrol.
Greene stated that the Antioch Police Department will continue to do the work to get the vehicles involved in sideshows off the street.
“Participants in these sideshows, a lot of these are juveniles so I want parents out there who are buying these juveniles these cars that are high powered and probably out of their skill range, you guys need to think about that. You are in care and control of these juveniles. Any accidents and any issues its going to be on the parents,” stated Greene. “I ask the parents to have accountability for their kids.”
There was no timeline provided by the Mayor as to when the council will take up the policing regarding side show spectators.