Home » Antioch Opts to Place Ordinance Focus on Sideshow Organizers

Antioch Opts to Place Ordinance Focus on Sideshow Organizers

by CC News

On Tuesday, the Antioch City Council reversed course on its proposed sideshow ordinance targeting spectators, but instead directed staff to focus on event organizers of Antioch sideshows.

This is another punt by the Antioch City Council who failed to make a decision regarding sideshows as a majority of the council claimed sideshow ordinances in place around the Bay Area do little to prohibit them. The council also cited concerns of the public who argued the Antioch Police Department may cite people stuck in a sideshow who may not be actively participating–while possibly targeting certain members of the community.

Since May of 2022, the council had discussed an Antioch sideshow ordinance targeting spectators while mimicking ordinances in the City of Pittsburg, City of Oakland and City of San Jose–this came after police vehicles were damaged during a sideshow. Under the proposed ordinance would hold spectators accountable and prohibit them from being within 200 feet of sideshow or speed racing events.


The Ordinance’s definition of a bystander or spectator could apply to those who are found within 200 feet of the location of a sideshow, street race, or the site of the preparations for these activities, for the purpose of viewing, observing, watching, or witnessing the event as it progresses.

According to the staff report:

Any person who violates this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor subject to a maximum of six (6) months in jail, a fine of $1,000, or both, unless at the discretion of the district attorney or a court of competent jurisdiction, the violation is reduced to an infraction. The City may seek compliance with this chapter by any remedy allowed under this code and any other remedy allowed by law, including but not limited to the administrative citation procedures set forth in Antioch Municipal Code § 1-5. The amount of the administrative fine is $1,000 for each violation.

On Tuesday, the council opted to move away from sideshow spectators and focus on organizers.

“For me, there is isn’t an ordinance here to vote on right now, I am assuming the direction is to go back and create something. The biggest challenge is enforcement of this particular future ordinance. Also, its not that just important to look like you are doing something, its also important to actually do something” stated Torres-Walker.

Councilmember Mike Barbanica supported the ordinance and said judgements are made everyday boy police officers

“This is a tool for our officers,” said Barbanica. “If we have an officer who gets to a sideshow and cannot tell the difference between somebody stuck in their car and somebody cheering on a sideshow, they shouldn’t be a police officer. That is ludicrous to think that our officers can’t make a determination between somebody actively participating and stuck in their car. There is a big difference.”

He called it a tool officers could use to break up sideshows.

Torres-Walker argued the council has given the police department tools in the past only to misuse them.“

We have given this particular police department tools in the past and they have misused them and often abused their authority. To trust an individual to make the determination at a scene in this instance when we couldn’t trust some folks in our department whether they would actively not violate somebody’s civil rights or participate in racism. I think for me, it’s a real concern to say hey, here is an ordinance and we are going to trust your judgement when we haven’t been able to trust your judgement in the past,” stated Torres-Walker. “I am not saying in the future we won’t have a department that can be fully trusted, but at this point I am not sure if I support that. Tonight, we are not voting on an ordinance anyway so I have no problem with something coming back to review but I think we should consider being more informed before passing policies that haven’t worked in other cities.”

Barbanica respond to Torres-Walker.

“Based on what is going on with our police department here, the officers that are involved in this situation are being dealt with. But lets don’t forget we have a lot of officers who are out on the street making sure that we all make it home, making sure if we call 9-1-1 somebody shows up and to say we can’t give an officer a policy to enforce an infraction because what other groups of officers are accused of doing, I do not fallow that logic path. I just don’t,” stated Barbanica who said they are being dealt with by the District Attorneys Office, the FBI. “That doesn’t mean the officers who are still out there working need to be striped of every enforcement technique that they can use.”

Torres-Walker argued that some policies are problematic and could profile people and harm people rather than provide an actual solution.  She added she was concerned about every policy within the Antioch Police Department which has not yet gone under review.

Antioch Mayor Lamar Thorpe claimed the city had gotten a hand on the large scale sideshows and many issues regarding traffic are because the traffic unit was “decimated” by the text message scandal. He acknowledge they brought this forward last year but put it on the backburner.

“The policy, I thought it was punitive from the very beginning,” stated Thorpe. “I thought it was important to send a very clear message to people who conduct and organize these sideshows.”

Thorpe wanted consensus or do away with the potential ordinance to not waste time.

“I am not a fan of wasting staffs time because staffs time is absolutely valuable working on more important issues. This is an important issue, but this may not be the policy prescription that we may need. If we are not going to have consensus to bring this back, I prefer we just do away with it here now,” said Thorpe.

Councilmember Monica Wilson asked Thorpe if he had conversations with other East County mayors regarding sideshows.

Thorpe responded they have always had conversations because they jump from city to city. He said Antioch led the effort with other cities in response to sideshows—which included support from CHP, Pittsburg, Brentwood and Oakley.

“That was comprehensive and it was working,” stated Thorpe. “Pittsburg has this policy and I don’t know what the impact or effect, but I still see news reports that say they went from Pittsburg to Antioch and end up in Brentwood, of course the news says they were only in Antioch.”

Thorpe continued by stating in regards to what has worked, he didn’t believe anything had worked. However, added he believed previous efforts worked because they had a specific sideshow detail which had nothing to do with any policy, but methods and techniques officers were using to find people who were organizing these sideshows and it prevented them from occurring.

Torres-Walker shared she believed staffing capacity was the issue and if they had more officers they could go back to enforcement and working to prevent sideshows.

Thorpe said the policies were in Oakland, San Jose and Pittsburg and one can turn on the news and see large scale sideshows were still occurring.

Barbanica said he has spoken to officers in the City of Pittsburg and said most of the time they don’t have to use it because they show up to sideshows and say they will cite them, tow vehicles and not to do it in Pittsburg—the sideshows generally move on.

“That is a tool they generally use to actually to deter this from occurring,” said Barbanica. “Our staffing, we may not have capacity today, but I am betting on the city that we will at some point and have the capacity and go out and revamp these programs that we were doing before… this is a tool to deter this from occurring.”

Wilson said she was focused on the “organizer” and wanted to look at an ordinance focusing on the organizers of sideshows. Thorpe added, if the ordinance is not strong enough they could come back and add the spectator piece.

“I guess I am just having a hard time understanding. We are talking about staff time, doing two of these is really taking up a lot of staff time. I guess I am not following the logic… Somersville Road is a big one for us where 50-60-100 cars just lineup on Somersville Road, they will line up, wait for the sideshow, they have the cameras out and sideshow comes in, sideshow destroys the area, then everybody leaves. I just not following the logic why somebody standing out there with a camera, cheering it on, destroying a neighborhood and destroying city property, why we are adverse to citing people for doing that,” asked Barbanica.

Thorpe shared the concern for some people was a risk of abusing the policy and confusing people who may not need to be there.

Thorpe shared the concern for some people was a risk of abusing the policy and confusing people who may not need to be there.

Torres-Walker stated in the past, the police department was focused on the organizers and figuring out who was putting it together and stopping it before it occurs, which she stated she would support bringing back something that focused on organizers and not spectators.

The council directed staff to work on an ordinance targeting organizers of Antioch sideshows.

Note: Councilmember Lori Ogorchock was absent from the meeting

Previous Stories on Antioch Sideshows:

You may also like


MODERATE November 16, 2023 - 2:05 pm

All of this talk is just that: talk. Without an adequate police force to stop the sideshows and make arrests, the ordinances will do nothing. Once again, the Antioch City Council talks and talks and talks without action.

Street Sweeper November 16, 2023 - 5:49 pm

Things won’t change until a car spins out of control and kills a few people. Until then its just grandstanding!

ActuallyCaresAboutCommunity November 16, 2023 - 10:52 pm

Wow what a joke. Antioch city council fails again – they are more worried about upsetting the filth that attends these sideshows, by citing them, than protecting the public safety. At some point, one starts to wonder if the problem with Antioch city leadership is worse than just incompetence – like maybe corruption with the criminal elements themselves.

Shelly for mayor November 17, 2023 - 1:47 am

What a joke. I hear them every night. Mostly on 18th st. Wilbur Ave is really bad. What is it going to take for the joke city council to do something. Maybe support your police dept. Miss felon walker stating police misused the tool the circus gave them. What peanuts. What a joke this council is. Stupid is what Stupid does. Which is nothing. Thank Antioch city 🤡 🤡 🤡 ..

Shelly for mayor November 17, 2023 - 1:52 am

It’s torres- walkers kids.When are we getting rid of these clowns. This is attracting more side shows to come to Antioch. Welcome to Antioch shit show .

Eric November 27, 2023 - 2:05 am

Right now it’s very difficult to trust any officer currently.


Leave a Comment