On October 6 around 11:30 p.m., a man was struck by a car at the intersection of Valley View Street and Artesia Boulevard in Buena Park, California. That was but one of three takeovers that beset Orange County that night. Police also responded to similar anarchic, illegal events in Anaheim and Costa Mesa.
It is unknown whether the individual seen in the video getting hammered by a drifting Mercedes Benz was taken to hospital. Persons injured — but not critically so — at takeovers rarely report the incidents to law enforcement for fear of incrimination.
Man hit by car during street takeover in Orange County
At the intersection of South Sunkist Street and Cerritos Avenue in Anaheim, participants used accelerants to create a circle of fire, in which some stood and others drove around.
On October 2, another man was plowed by a car performing donuts at the intersection of Main Street and Harrison Street in San Francisco.
One witness told KRON4: “Someone gets hit, falls over and then you see this car come back, runs over his foot, he loses his shoe, his phone breaks. This kid is limping back and it’s just scary.”
These potentially lethal sideshows are called “street takeovers.”
A street takeover involves a semi-coordinated swarming of a particular intersection by motorists and spectators. Once traffic is illegally constricted in the surrounding area, admitted drivers perform dangerous stunts while bystanders either watch or tempt fate in the impromptu stunt staging area, where donuts are usually performed.
Frequently, hundreds of spectators flock to takeovers, some hindering the efforts of police and first responders to restore order.
The Los Angeles Police Department described the pedestrian element in these events as a “flash mob,” whereby “a large public gathering at which people perform an unusual or seemingly random act and then disperse,” is coordinated via social media. KTLA reported that “rendezvous points” are declared on social media ahead of time to ensure sizable crowds.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore indicated that part of the allure of takeovers, extra to participants’ motivation to “garner attention and to get clicks or likes” on social media, is that proponents can “monetize [their videos] by attracting crowds.”
The LAPD noted that oftentimes, flash mobs turn “from fun spontaneous events to opportunistic criminal occurrences.”
In one of numerous instances of a takeover turning lethal, a teenage boy was gunned down on August 15 amidst a so-called street race.
In August, an individual armed with a machete confronted elements of a takeover near Haster Street and Orangewood Avenue in Anaheim. Police ultimately dispersed the crowd.
A 60-year-old man was shot during a south Los Angeles street takeover on September 18.
Last month, LAPD Chief Moore said that police were “working aggressively everyday” to clamp down on these “reckless acts.” Despite impounding at least 457 cars, making over 500 arrests and issuing over 674 citations this year, the problem persists.
Moore called on state lawmakers to “stiffen the penalties.”
Moore told the Police Commission on September 13 that he was recommending to Los Angeles’ Democrat Mayor Eric Garcetti that the city should implement a 30-day impound of vehicles involved in the takeovers with no waiver, driver’s license suspensions, points added to DMV records and other penalties.
On September 19, Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law a bipartisan bill to ban street takeovers.
Republican California Assemblyman Vince Fong, who co-authored the bill, stated, “There are countless stories every week throughout California about illegal street races and dangerous sideshows shutting down streets, causing accidents, damaging neighborhoods, and endangering lives.”
Los Angeles has had over 705 street takeovers this year.