The order was requested in July by East Long Beach Councilman Daryl Supernaw, who showed footage of a takeover event where dozens of people and vehicles blocked the Stearns Street intersection and Bellflower Boulevard, with some attendees pointing lasers at arriving police.
Supernaw said Monday that the purpose of seeking the ordinance was to ensure that Long Beach does not become a haven for this type of illegal street racing activity, as other cities around Long Beach had already adopted or were in the process of putting in place similar laws. targeting viewers on the books.
“If other cities are doing this, we just needed to send a strong message that Long Beach won’t tolerate this,” Supernaw said.
the new order would cause to be present at a site where illegal street racing, sideshows or other “reckless driving displays” during a street takeover are carried out or prepared to be punishable as a misdemeanor or an offence. The city attorney would decide what level of charges to bring against those caught in takeover events.
The law would apply to any public street or car park if council passes the ordinance as it is currently written. A person would be considered “present” if they are within 200 feet of a reckless driving exposure.
Preparing for a street takeover is narrowly defined in the language of the ordinance. This could mean that one or more people are obstructing the public use of a street or that one or more vehicles are lined up on a public street or parking lot causing their engines to spin or the vehicle’s tires to spin.
A person’s past involvement in street takeovers could also be used against them as evidence for future charges.
The order proposes to allow evidence that a person was present or has been charged with past offenses related to street takeovers as evidence that they were knowingly present at a future event.
“We don’t want anyone to be caught off guard not knowing it was against the law,” Supernaw said of that part of the bill.
It is unclear whether the three-year rule would be retroactive to the council’s potential adoption of the new ordinance. All city offices were closed on Monday due to the President’s Day holiday and a representative from the city attorney’s office could not be reached.
As the council voted unanimously in July to have an ordinance written, some members have expressed concern that it could be misinterpreted in a way that could target protests or that a diversion program could be a better tool to address young people who are present at street racing events.
If council chooses to approve the ordinance, it will take effect 31 days after it is formally passed at a subsequent meeting. Non-emergency city ordinances require two council votes, meaning the new spectator law could come into effect as early as April.
City council takes action to crack down on dangerous street car shows