Central Valley lawmaker backs bill to create FBI-lead task force aimed at curbing sideshows

Central Valley lawmaker supports a bill that establishes an FBI-led task force to curb sideshows

It’s difficult to go a week without hearing about a sideshow garnering unwanted attention. They continue to wreak havoc on neighborhoods and strain local law enforcement. Several people have perished while visiting them this year.

According to one lawmaker, the FBI should be involved in order to solve the problem.

“This behavior has gotten out of control,” said Rep. Josh Harder of California’s 9th Congressional District.

Harder supports legislation that would establish an FBI-led task group to combat sideshows.

“These sideshows are dangerous and even deadly,” added Harder. “So far this year, at least three people have been shot and killed at a sideshow just in Stockton.”

In April, CBS13 reported on the shooting of a 22-year-old man at a Stockton sideshow.

“We heard the gunshots and just knew that was it,” claimed one witness. “We heard a couple, I think somebody shot back at them.”

The act is known as the “They’re Fast, We’re Furious Act.” It would establish a task team led by the FBI to prevent and intervene in street racing. The Department of Justice and local law enforcement would be included.

CBS13 questioned him why he needed federal assistance. According to Harder, the answer is twofold.

To be honest, our local law enforcement in California is overburdened. Sometimes there will be as many as ten or twelve sideshows in a single night.

Another explanation is what happens during them.

“A lot of the crimes that are happening are federal crimes,” said Harder. “Whether it’s illegal firearms, fentanyl, and so it’s important to have federal coordination to make sure the organizers for these sideshows are held accountable to the full extent of the law.”

The aim is that with FBI assistance, law enforcement will have the resources necessary to finally put an end to sideshows.

This arises as local governments take action.

It is illegal in Sonoma County to promote, observe, or participate in sideshows. Infringers face up to six months in prison and a $1,000 fine.

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