illegal sideshows

City of San Jose Cracks Down on Sideshow Organizers, Promoters

NBC Universal, Inc.

San Jose is cracking down on sideshows and this week, a judge ordered promoters to stop organizing them on social media.

Investigators say the men post locations and hundreds of people show up in minutes -- something the city made illegal in June when it passed a first-in-the-nation law.          

Violators could face a $1,000 fine and six months in jail. Police say they’re dangerous and reckless and now, the city attorneys are cracking down for the first time, filing a civil suit against two of the biggest alleged organizers.

An Instagram account investigators say is run by Elijah Moore has nearly 15,000 followers. Recent posts show drone shots over recent sideshow activity with captions that say, "appreciate everyone who came out last night.”

“These are happening in neighborhoods; they’re happening in daytime and night time,” said San Jose City Councilmember Maya Esparza. “People are shooting guns during the sideshow activity.”

Esparza co-authored the new law, and is happy it’s being put to use.

“We’re trying new things and we’re taking this to court. It’s a new tool in our tool box,” she said.

This week, a Santa Clara County judge granted a preliminary injunction – which prohibits the accused from posting and promoting sideshows at all.

They’ll be back in court in January.

If the city wins, those defendants could have to pay tens of thousands in fines – including money to pay for the police response to the events.

“Bottom line is, don’t come to San Jose to do your sideshows,” said Esparza.

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