Cellphone video shows dangerous illegal street takeover in heart of Texas
AUSTIN, Texas - Shocking cellphone video from Saturday night shows hundreds of people crowded at a major intersection in Austin for what some call, a "street takeover."
BACKGROUND: Officer injured, police cars damaged in street racing incidents: APD
While cars did donuts in the intersection surrounded by the mob, an Austin police car could be seen trying to approach the intersection. Then, the crowd is recorded overwhelming the police officer and shooting fireworks at the vehicle.
"Austin PD has a broken paradigm," said former police officer and judge Charles Adams. "They’re standing down to crime. You can’t have this lawlessness. It’s going to lead to people taking the law into their own hands and a lot of danger to the community at large."
Adams lives in Houston but has lived in Austin.
"[Austin police] are only enforcing rules and writing tickets to citizens that follow the law," said Adams. "It’s terrifying. It’s turning what was the most wonderful city in Texas to the Portland of this great state."
Roughly 2 years ago, a family was shot at near Houston’s Galleria during a street takeover. Last year, a Houston man was chased by police while leaving a street takeover and crashed into 5 cars, killing one person.
"You have a certain element of the population that doesn’t act like they have any rules that apply to them," said Adams.
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"To do this in front of a bunch of people and put lives at risk is just ridiculous," said Sean Tajipour, President of West Houston Muscle, the largest car club in Texas. I really think it’s people being immature. Not realizing the group they’re with, they shouldn’t be with. They should surround themselves with true car enthusiasts. It’s a different world."
A cohost from Saturday’s street takeover in Austin told our sister station their goal was to have fun.
"We want to be known," said the cohost. "We want to be documented. We want to be the next Fast and Furious."
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office and Houston Police Department both have teams dedicated to stopping street takeovers.
"On December 12, 2020, Traffic Crimes Task Force was officially created, and assigned within the Traffic Enforcement Division," said the Traffic Crimes Task Force on HPD’s website. "Our primary mission is to disrupt hostile street takeover groups collaborating within Harris County, Texas. Our duties are to conduct strategic operations initiated through social media of participants engaging in racing exhibitions, reckless driving, deadly conduct, and intersection takeovers. Maintain continuous flow of traffic without interruptions caused by hostile street takeovers and preserve the life and property of the community."
"It’s unfortunate that this trend of street takeovers is still going in," said Tajipour. "It gives everyone a bad rep. That one percent gives [other car clubs] a bad rep. We don’t do stuff like you see on those trends."
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One Austin police officer was injured at the street takeover Saturday night. The officer is expected to be okay. Two people were arrested and charged with evading arrest.
"If there wasn’t a perception that there’s no consequence, no rule of law, that wouldn’t happen," said Adams. "It’s repugnant what’s going on in my hometown and it’s a wholesale abandonment of law abiding citizens."