OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — After making arrests and towing almost 100 vehicles following the massive sideshows that occurred in Oakland early Sunday morning, Oakland Police are now trying out a new social media-focused strategy to sideline illegal sideshow activity.
Oakland police took to Twitter, where the sideshows live on long after they’ve ended, and used it as a megaphone. They shamed some participants and warned the department’s 39,000 followers about the consequences of participating in the rowdy sideshows.
During the recent sideshows on the East Oakland streets over the weekend, activities included gunshots, violence toward the police, people mixing alcohol with driving and even going the wrong way on one-way streets. Two officers were injured; one was hit by a thrown object and another was inside a police patrol car that was rammed into by a sideshow participant.
In an Instagram video, an officer was captured chastising members of the sideshow crowd face-to-face.
“You pull out guns and start threatening other citizens and the police, and we’re gonna start dealing with that in a whole different manner. Tear gas and all of the above,” said the officer.
The Oakland Police Department Twitter account tallied the damages as a deterrent.
The hope for the social media strategy was that the videos of cars being towed and police making rounds would reach the very accounts that advertised the sideshow, which would discourage them from participating in the future.
“If this is the weekend that gets the message out, if this is the weekend that somebody in the future says, ‘You know what, I’m not going to participate. I’m not going to Oakland,’ then we have done our job,” said Johnna Watson, a spokesperson for the Oakland Police Department.