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Nine police agencies in Riverside, California sent more than one hundred police officers to surround a gathering of automotive enthusiasts. Owners of imported sport compact cars had gathered at the Canyon Crossing shopping center on Friday night to swap stories, talk about their passion for cars and show off the latest enhancements to their rides. At around 11pm police surprised participants by blocking all exits with fifty police cruisers. Officers then began a warrantless search and interrogation operation of the 150 vehicles that were present.
"If you're not into street racing, why would you need that?" Riverside Police Traffic Sergeant Skip Showalter asked an enthusiast during a similar crackdown last year. "Why would you want more power going to your car?"
Police issued a total of forty-eight tickets for "engine modifications" with police accusing the owners of the parked vehicles of being street racers. Another fifty tickets were issued for paperwork violations, dark window tinting and lack of a front license plate. The most revenue, however, will be generated from the fees imposed on twenty vehicles that were confiscated. Despite labeling the parking lot raid as taking place at a "street racing venue," Riverside Police offered no evidence that any street racing actually took place.
Across the state, gas tax funds are regularly used to fund similar crackdowns that generate big revenue. In 2004, the California Highway Patrol issued a total of 101,553 "modified car" citations worth $10.5 million according to CHP data obtained by TheNewspaper.
Originally posted by Kruel
Yeah... way to protect us from the bad guys.
This just proves what the police force really is... a business.
The Press-Enterprise | Police raid hits street racing
Riverside police may have put a dent in local street racing Friday when about 100 officers raided a parking lot on Valley Springs Parkway, where suspected racers are known to congregate.
Police from Riverside and other agencies shut off the exits to the lot to inspect more than 150 vehicles. Officers wrote a similar number of citations, including 48 for illegal modifications common to street racing, according to a police news release.
Twenty vehicles were towed from the scene as part of a crackdown funded by a $503,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, according to a police news release.
Police spokesman Steven Frasher said officers had been monitoring illegal activity in the lot for weeks. The large number of people who received tickets for illegal modifications common to street racing confirmed officers' suspicions that the lot was a hotbed of street racing activity, he said.
"Almost every vehicle that was there, even if they weren't street racing, they were ... an audience," Frasher said, adding that the lot was full of skid marks left behind by racers.