Emeryville Park Avenue District neighbors were awoken early Sunday morning to the familiar sound of a series of rapid “claps” followed by screeching cars. Apparently as many as 100 cars and an estimated 500 spectators had gathered in the Target Parking lot around midnight for a “Sideshow” event.
Fortunately, according to Emeryville Police Chief Jennifer Tejada, what sounded like gunfire turned out to be fireworks thrown from a vehicle. Some sources have reported that small fires were set in the lot by spectators of the event and that bottles were thrown at the officers while containing them.
Oakland police cars are swarming the area around the Target in Emeryville, CA pic.twitter.com/E92xGcC9wy
— Brook Medeiros (@BrookMedeiros) November 26, 2017
Lyft driver Brook Medeiros was caught in the aftermath of the scene and captured his vantage point on Twitter. “I was going to take a bit of a break in that area, then found it surrounded. I was shocked to see the East bound overpass on West Grand also blocked!”
#Thanksgiving Weekend Fun In #Oakland. Oakland #police trying to mitigate a Sunday morning #sideshow at the #Target on the Oakland #Emeryville border. https://t.co/IORxCRHM5s pic.twitter.com/WW3yLgHiDG
— Oakland Photo Vault (@BlackKangoPhoto) November 26, 2017
The below video was posted hours later by CBS SF Bay Area showing a large gathering on High Street in East Oakland (originally reported as Oak Street). Hundreds of spectators can be seen gathered to watch including many from the vantage point of a nearby I-880 onramp.
Sideshows are an impromptu car show where, according to Urban Dictionary, people congregate to “ride the strip, stunt, get at, or mingle with the opposite sex, do donuts, figure 8’s, hang out the windows while we drive, drive wit the doors open and basically do it real live, Yadada-mean!”
Sideshows originated in East Oakland in the 80’s and have been a source of cultural pride for some residents and featured in hip-hop music and YouTube videos. The events typically take over an intersection, remote area of the city, or even highway. The events have occasionally ended in tragedy including collisions and violence among the participants such as shootings.
The events have grown over the years to draw 100’s of participants from out of the area and are easily coordinated through social media apps. The CHP and OPD have began monitoring social media channels in order to better prepare for and react to these events that can overwhelm public safety agencies.
No arrests from this incident were reported although one vehicle apparently struck a palm tree in the center median near IKEA and was towed. The occupants fled the scene and the passenger declined medical treatment when they were located according to the EPD Nixle alert.
Tejada thanked the Oakland Police for helping her small force control the scene and assistance in dispersing the crowd of vehicles.
Since this is breaking news, we will update this post as new information becomes available.
Feature Image: Oakland Photo Vault via Twitter.