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San Francisco considers tough impound penalties for illegal sideshow participants

Some San Francisco officials are proposing tough measures to crack down on illegal sideshow participants.

District 11 Supervisor Ahsha Safai Tuesday introduced legislation that would allow The City to impound vehicles belonging to persons caught either facilitating or participating in illegal sideshows. Safai said impound time for a first violation would be no less than two weeks — repeat offenders could see their vehicles impounded for almost a month.

The proposed legislation is supported by Mayor London Breed and Police Chief Bill Scott. Both joined Safai in a press conference Wednesday where they issued strong condemnation of the sideshows, saying The City will not tolerate behavior that puts lives in danger.

Safai said at the press conference in his district:

“These are not individuals that have professional training to do these types of tricks and stunts with their cars. I just want to say clearly, we have zero tolerance for this in San Francisco.”

City officials pointed to a sideshow incident in Safai’s district earlier this month where three people were shot near the event at Russia Avenue and Paris Street. One person died and the two others suffered life-threatening injuries. The medical examiner’s office identified the deceased as 21-year-old Cesar Corza of Sacramento.

Scott said police observed approximately 300 spectators at least 50 vehicles during that event and the department received hundreds of 911 calls that night. He said police have been working for months to train a team of officers to respond to sideshow incidents.

Sideshows are nothing new in the Bay Area, with events reported nearly every weekend. San Francisco in February experienced rampant sideshows in several different neighborhoods.

Acknowledging that some view the events as fun, the mayor said sideshows incidents ultimately put participants and spectators’ lives in danger and that it is time to step up enforcement.

Breed said:

“We don’t always want to use this heavy hand of law enforcement to address issues, but in this particular case because of its danger, you have left us with no choice.”

Scott asked the public to submit to police any videos or surveillance footage of any sideshow activities and warned that arrests will be made if the department finds evidence of people aiding or abetting in the activities.

The chief said:

“We’re coming after you.”

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