Philadelphia police broke up several “large car gatherings” that formed across the city late Saturday night and early Sunday morning, including one that snarled traffic around City Hall.
Videos that circulated on social media showed dozens of vehicles jammed up on South 15th Street near Market around midnight. Crowds of people surrounded vehicles that were doing “doughnuts” — driving around in tight circles — and drifting in the street, including one that appeared to repeatedly circle around a police vehicle.
Cpl. Jasmine Reilly said one of the overnight gatherings involved more than 200 vehicles at Tabor and Adams Avenues in Northeast Philadelphia. Police reported no injuries and no one was arrested, but she said the department is “actively investigating these incidents to determine whether charges will be forthcoming.”
The events, sometimes called “sideshows,” are often organized on social media and involve drivers performing stunts in vacant lots or street intersections. They have a deep culture in cities across America, but especially on the West Coast, where drivers have launched local campaigns to legalize the events.
Reilly said that the gatherings have been a “recurrent problem” in Philadelphia and that the department has continuously needed to deploy officers to address them.
“Our number one priority is the safety of the public,” she said, “which can, and often does, become compromised when individuals behave in a reckless manner that endangers themselves and those around them.”