General Crime

* Oakland Police Crackdown On Sideshows and Arrest Dozens

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Oakland police cracked down on sideshows this weekend, issuing more than 250 citations, arresting dozens of people and seizing several weapons, a police spokesman said today. The crackdown came after three people were killed in a sideshow-related crash last weekend on MacArthur Boulevard. Sideshows are gatherings in which drivers perform stunts, spinning “donuts” and driving recklessly. Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason said extra officers patrolled the streets Friday and Saturday night, focusing on vehicle code violations.  “That’s a direct response to what happened last weekend when we had three people tragically killed,” Thomason said. The officers issued 251 citations, towed 67 cars, and seized three firearms. They made 12 felony arrests, 26 misdemeanor arrests and seized narcotics in several cases. Three pursuits occurred, in which two people were taken into custody. “We had minimal sideshow activity as a direct result of having more officers out on the street,” Thomason said. Thomason said there is no concrete timeline for continued crackdowns but said the extra officers will be out again for at least one more weekend. “It’s going to happen next weekend for sure because it’s Halloween,” he said. He noted that sideshow activity tends to wind down during the winter months but that police will “play it by ear” in terms of future stepped-up enforcement. He declined to say how many additional officers were on duty this past weekend. Police Chief Anthony Batts, who took over as department head last week, has said he will make it a priority to reduce sideshow activity.  Last weekend’s crash happened at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday in the area of MacArthur Boulevard and 100th Avenue when a speeding Nissan Altima went out of control and hit several parked cars and a pedestrian before overturning.  Five people were inside the car; three died. Police identified the victims as driver Rickie Reyes Jr., 22, of Hayward; Racquel Cassini, 22, of San Lorenzo; and Zsorhzinnia Tevaseu, 19, of San Lorenzo. Thomason said the Nissan was seen driving recklessly earlier that night and that the passengers had been seen hanging out the car’s windows. Copyright © 2009 by Bay City News, Inc. — Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.

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