Videos of Spectators Getting Hit, Injured at Car Meet Ups Going Viral

Detectives from LAPD’s Street Racing Task Force believe social media may be fueling more violent "takeovers"

Hundreds of cars converge on busy intersections and parking lots. With cell phones set to record, spectators form giant circles around the tricked out vehicles and watch drivers perform reckless and risky stunts.

These "takeovers" have always had an element of danger, according to police, but these car meet ups are getting more violent.

Takeovers are well documented by spectators – and videos are easy to find across social media.

One video shows an out of control car plowing into a crowd.

Detectives from the LAPD's Street Racing Task Force believe social media may be fueling more violent "takeovers."

Another video shows a man being tossed into the air, knocking his pants off.

A recent video recorded in South Los Angeles, shows a man writhing on the ground, the lower half of his right arm having been ripped off.


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Police are concerned that videos like these encourage the violence, and could motivate even more.

"Some of our suspects brag about hitting people,” says LAPD Sergeant Munish Bharadwaja, who heads South Traffic Division team on LAPD’s Street Racing Task Force.

He points to a recent social media post from a recent Compton takeover.

"We call this Sunday Funday," said a man, addressing his cellphone in selfie-mode.

"And if we’re really lucky, someone will get hit by a [expletive] car, and make our footage priceless." 

But social media is also proving to be an asset for police. Livestreams of takeovers in progress can give detectives their biggest leads. The real time video is both instant intel and evidence.

The night we rode along with the LAPD Task Force, they detained a young man for participating in a takeover.

The man drove a silver Mustang convertible with the tires so stripped, the metal was exposed.

"Your tire could have popped and the car would have flipped," Sgt. Bharadwaja told the car owner.

The young man, now sitting in the back of a patrol car, vehemently denied his involvement.

"I was just getting some food." 

The driver was unaware that the Task Force already had video of him at the takeover, performing stunts.

Another officer shows him the video.

"Were you still going to get food? Or Is this you?" 

Reluctantly, the man nods his head, admitting that he is the driver in the video.

Spectators we spoke with defend their participation at takeovers as part of their car culture.

"We just coming out and having some fun," one says in a video. "We just enjoy watching some cars do their thang (sic)." 

LAPD Police Captain Jonathan Tom refutes, "This is not fun and games.

It's extremely dangerous." 

Capt. Tom emphasizes that the danger threatens more than just those in attendance at the takeover, "They’re doing this out on the public roadway, where innocent people are driving along." 

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