‘Street takeover’ in LA neighborhood prompts police to form skirmish line

Symptomatic of a troubling fad across the Los Angeles area, an unruly group of revelers assembled in the Boyle Heights section of the city in the early hours of Sunday morning, staging what is known as a “street takeover” that forced police to mobilize into a skirmish line, as Fox News reports.

According to the outlet, members of the crowd were found in the area of East 4th and Anderson Streets doing donuts in vehicles, and others began hurling rocks, bottles, and lit fireworks at officers who were attempting to bring the situation under control.

The Los Angeles Police Department Public Information Office reported that upwards of 60 cars were part of the effort to lock down the street, and though the assembled participants were ultimately persuaded to disperse, at least one attendee suffered a cut to the head in the process.

As local Los Angeles broadcast station KTLA explains, “street takeovers” generally occur when a flash mob of hundreds of onlookers gathers to watch a group of cars perform dangerous maneuvers in urban intersections, blocking traffic and creating commotion in the surrounding area.

When these events take place, the outlet ads, the scenes of daring vehicular stunts and wildly cheering crowds are often filmed for posting on social media, a phenomenon police believe serves to fuel subsequent incidents, all of which are illegal.

LAPD traffic group Cmdr. Al Pasos told the outlet, “They’re using social media and cell phone technology to create rendezvous points. They’re using their network to identify areas that they’re going to be, which causes a mass of people to go there.”

“I also think that the highly published novelty of filming these things, whether it be via live stream, via somebody’s web page or their post…as well as the coverage when the media picks it up, causes people to go out and become more involved in these,” Pasos said.

Though, as KTLA noted, street racing has long been interwoven into California car culture, Pasos says the tenor of the events has changed, particularly in terms of how attendees react to law enforcement intervention.

“When I was a young man, people were cooperative; they left the scene, they put their cars on trailers and they want away. Now, they’re having confrontations with officers and they’re utilizing the roadway and all the spectators to block us from even having an avenue to go in and address the matter,” Pasos noted, making for an increasingly worrisome scenario in neighborhoods impacted by this trend.