one of many recent sideshows
Sideshow at 24th and Bryant on Sunday, Aug. 23, 2020

The intersection of 24th and Bryant streets was the scene of a “sideshow” early Sunday morning as cars performed donuts, screeching their tires and sending burnt-rubber smoke up into the air as a rowdy group of more than 100 looked on. 

A video of the sideshow shows cars crowding the intersection and a throng of people appearing to cheer the spinning cars. Some of the cars had people hanging out of the windows as they orbited the intersection. Others seemed to graze the onlookers. In the video, a car doing donuts appears to momentarily lose control and run into a group of onlookers who are forced to back up. 

San Francisco Police Department spokesman Officer Adam Lobsinger said that, at 2:37 a.m., officers responded to the intersection to “reports of an illegal sideshow.” When they arrived, officers found roughly 60 vehicles blocking all lanes of entry to the 24th and Bryant intersection. 

“Officers could hear the sound of screeching tires and observed large amounts of smoke emanating from the intersection of 24th and Bryant Street,” Lobsinger said. 

He also said police received a “shot spotter” alert for the area, meaning someone may have fired a gun. More officers arrived, and the sideshow participants disbursed, Lobsinger said. 

“Participation in sideshows is unacceptable and puts the public in danger,” he said. “It is common for sideshow participants and attendees to possess weapons and operate their vehicles in extremely dangerous manners, which poses a significant safety risk to the public.” 

“Sideshows are prolific throughout the Bay Area and often result in shootings and major bodily injuries,” he added. 

He did not say if anyone was arrested, and did not report any injuries. Lobsinger asked anyone with information on this sideshow to call the police department. 

In late February, at least 100 vehicles participated in four sideshows across the city, with one at 23rd and Dolores streets. A month earlier, on Jan 6, a spate of sideshows  took place throughout the city, including at 24th and Bryant

In January, Chief Bill Scott told Mayor London Breed in a text message that SFPD has been in touch with the Oakland Police Department regarding the sideshows, “as we believe the sideshow participants are active today on both sides of the bay.” 

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Julian grew up in the East Bay and moved to San Francisco in 2014. Before joining Mission Local, he wrote for the East Bay Express, the SF Bay Guardian, and the San Francisco Business Times.

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  1. Don’t forget that the police have no real power — if they bust people Boudin will release them — no charges, no bail. That goes for serious felonies as well.

  2. The drivers are very skilled, but I’m still surprised there were no crashes or injuries. These guys should get a place to hold these, or maybe they can get jobs as stunt drivers in Hollywood. It is so loud and stinky though, and horrible in the middle of the night. But also, it’s kind of cute when 2 cars go together, it looks like a dance or a boxing match.

  3. Here’s a strategy that would have worked at 24th and Bryant. 1) Get videos of the vehicles involved in the sideshow; 2) Block all 4 exits from the intersection; 3) Funnel all exit traffic from the intersection down one lane, checking drivers’ license and vehicle registration for each one leaving; 4) Arrest those who participated in the sideshow for reckless driving and tow their vehicles.

    Based on the article, SFPD’s attitude seems to be: yes, we know it’s happening, and yes it is dangerous. So what?

  4. How hard is it for the police to park squad cars across the 4 streets leading into the intersection and impound or ticket any car that isn’t legally parked? Until there are consequences for these dangerous gatherings they will continue until someone dies or is seriously injured.
    It seems like they way they handle it now is to just tell everyone to move along which is worse than ineffective. Why is this totally illegal activity tolerated?