Monday, October 18, 2021

"Drifting Sideshows" Put Philly's Lawlessness On Global Display

By A. Benjamin Mannes

On Oct. 2nd, Philadelphia's lawlessness was on global display, as viral videos emerged of a Saturday night crowd gathered to watch a reckless display of cars unlawfully “drifting” just across the street from Philadelphia’s City Hall and Municipal Services Building. 

Amid the dangerous vehicle stunts being performed on an unlawfully blocked street, the video shows illegal fireworks being launched and a crowd jumping on and kicking an occupied police cruiser.

Numerous videos posted to social media showed one lone police SUV with its lights on, surrounded by the unruly, combative crowd in the heart of Center City, as a black Dodge Charger circled it numerous times, in violation of various traffic laws. Philadelphia police said the department is investigating the incident and looking for members of the group, FOX29 reported. There were no reports of injuries related to the incident.

BigTrial has contacted the Philadelphia Police Public Affairs unit for a comment on the details as to whether this officer called for assistance, if/when the crowd was broken up, and if arrests were made or vehicles were impounded as a result. Philadelphia Police have not yet responded to our request. 

"Our number one priority is the safety of the public, which can, and often does become compromised when individuals behave in a reckless manner that endangers themselves and those around them," a spokesperson for the Police Public Affairs said in a statement released to the city’s local television news media.

Police have yet to make any arrests, but Mayor Jim Kenney has some harsh words for the lawless crowd.

“"What happened last night on streets near City Hall was incredibly and needlessly dangerous," Kenney said. "Incidents that pose threats to safety and endanger the public will not be tolerated. We're working with the police department to ensure that these reckless incidents do not happen in the future."

While the street racing is in no way a new phenomenon and is arguably part of American culture, a concerning lack of police enforcement of the issue is leading to these incidents occurring in more congested areas, drawing larger crowds and, in turn, posing more risk to the community.

Furthermore, the evolution from street/drag racing in isolated areas to “drifting” events that take place in highly populated intersections is something that was common in west coast cites, like Oakland, CA. – and has recently grown to prominence in Philadelphia. In 2017, videos emerged of Oakland Police Officers standing by while “Sideshow” events illegally shut down traffic and recklessly endangered audiences of hundreds. 

From 2013-17, Danielle Outlaw was the Deputy Chief of Police in Oakland. Now, a similar visual of inaction is shown in videos where Philadelphia police, also under Outlaw’s command, are not aggressively confronting these dangerous gatherings. 

While the Mayor says these incidents “won’t be tolerated," his public safety policies say just the opposite. As a result, these types of dangerous street races, as well as a myriad of other quality of life crimes, have become a citywide issue – with little done to stop the spread. 

One of the recent incidents unfolded this weekend at the intersection of Adams Avenue and Tabor Road in Philadelphia's Crescentville neighborhood. That's where dozens of people used vehicles to block off the intersection while other cars were used to do donuts as fireworks popped in the sky. Dennis Santana, who lives nearby, told reporters from WPVI news that this is actually the second weekend in a row this happened in his community.

On September 19th, gunshots rang out at a similar gathering in the middle of Broad and W. Oxford Streets, in the heart of Temple University’s North Philadelphia campus. Police said similar incidents were subsequently reported as unruly crowds continue to be "an ongoing issue within the city," the station reported.

One incident reportedly involved 200 cars. These types of incidents involving drivers performing stunts in streets or vacant lots are sometimes referred to as "sideshows," according to The Philadelphia Inquirer, and are often organized on social media

Nationally, these types of quality of life crimes are becoming more brazen amid municipal law enforcement defunding movements, as well as a perception by law enforcement that they will not be supported in enforcing traffic, misdemeanor, or quality of life laws. 

This is mainly due to the policies of their political leadership, which most recently included Commissioner Outlaw’s puzzling support for a bill that prohibits Philadelphia police from enforcing traffic violations, which largely includes the behavior at the center of these “drifting” events.

With reckless policies like this, it’s no wonder why the city’s criminal element feels that “anything goes” in the city of brotherly love.


  1. Kenney was probably in Margate at the time, visiting his mistress-turn-fiancé.
    Outlaw, now having The Jim Kenney over a barrel, hold his "Big Lie" over his head, is simply moistening a seat, collecting her pay-pay, and living large and safe...Kinda like Kenney has been doing the past 3 decades.
    Does Outlaw have side-jobs, too?

  2. Thank god we have jim kenney to use the full power of the courts to keep us safe from a columbus statue while merely wagging his finger at those who actively endanger the public with illegal activity.

    1. Kenney acts like a nazi, targeting Italians and Catholics.
      And soon, his venomous hate will spread to other groups, when it serves his self ambitions..
      Cowardly, scavenger sharks like Kenney duck, pivot, and slime their way through.

  3. Hey Ralph any word on the scumbag that killed Jeff Carter? I wonder how many times he was arrested even tho he had a license to carry.
    When do the justice for Jeff protests begin?

  4. Kenyatta and his wife are up next to see a jail cell!!!


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