KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Street racing is an increasingly dangerous problem that's picking up speed in Kansas City, Missouri, despite its city council passing an ordinance Thursday to ban the side shows and their audiences.
"A lot of people have contended that yeah we should just provide a place for people to do this. I think this is one of those things where people want to show up and show out in front of a big crowd of people," said Mayor Quinton Lucas, when discussing why these incidents keep happening in public areas with crowds of people as opposed to less populated areas with a lower chance of getting caught. "They want to be in front of the T-Mobile Center, they want other people noticing them."
On Saturday, smoke from burnouts and drifting once again filled Power & Light – nearly injuring a KCPD Officer when he stepped out of his patrol car to address the situation. In a video shared with 41 Action News, the officer's hands can be heard making contact with the car in an effort to not get hit as the vehicle come his way.
Lucas said the city has given police the ability to "investigate and track down" the vehicles involved in the sideshows.
"My hope is that for this particular hooligan, we find a way to track down the vehicle, we seize the vehicle for 30 days for evidentiary purposes and then hopefully see that this is not the activity that we are going to tolerate," Lucas said.
Street racing and side shows have popped up across the city from downtown to Midtown, the northeast and the east side, at times leading to violence. In 2020, seven people were shot at sideshows over the course of one May weekend alone.
Last September, six people were injured in a shooting that stemmed from one of these events, and within days, 19-year-old Daisy Martinez was killed after an event celebrating Mexican Independence Day turned deadly during another sideshow.
While no one was reportedly injured during this weekend's stunts, police said they can attempt to disperse the crowds and write citations for anyone still around, but are not allowed to chase after any vehicle that leaves.
If caught violating the new city ordinance against street racing and side shows, first-time violators will face up to a $150 fine and/or up to 30 days in jail.
Second violations mean up to a $300 fine and/or up to 60 days in jail.
Three or more violations could result in the violators being issued up to a $500 fine and/or serving up to six months in jail.
Spectators also could faces fines for attending the illegal events.
“This stops here, that’s why we’ve increased the penalties," said Lucas, who noted he's not usually someone who advocates for increasing penalties, "but there is absolutely no redeeming social value for this. And this is not the story of somebody who needs to support their family so they steal a loaf of bread, this is somebody who’s got a souped up Mustang or something and wants to make a show of it in front of the entire city and they need to take it somewhere else.”
Lucas said KCPD now has the ability to seize vehicles involved in this type of activity for 30 days before the city prosecutor's office can bring charges.