Whatever free time I get I like to browse the Web to catch up on local and current news around the world. It just so happened that I came across a rather interesting story that pertained to the import car scene and our wonderful law enforcement of Riverside County, Calif. On April 4 a swarm of 50 police cruisers, flatbed tow vehicles, and 100 cops in arms raided the Canyon Cross shopping center at 11 p.m., where car enthusiasts gathered for a weekly car meet. The night's raid included the California Highway Patrol, Riverside County Sheriff's Department and police from Baldwin Park, Fontana, Irwindale, Moreno Valley, Ontario, and Mount San Jacinto Community College. Using $503,000 of federal and state gas tax revenue to pay for police overtime, men and women of nine police agencies in Riverside, Calif.-who were sworn in to protect and serve-harassed, interrogated, and impounded vehicles in record numbers. For years the Canyon Cross shopping center has become a haven for car enthusiasts on Friday nights. Many people like you and I sat idly by talking about our car hobby and motorsports passion while showing what hard earned money was invested in our rides. The Riverside police had a different story to tell as they blocked off both entrances to the parking lot and proceeded to issue over 48 tickets for illegal engine modifications and another 50 or so, ranging from tinted windows to no front license plates. The most severe of the bunch witnessed 20 of their cars being towed away and taken to the impound lot, where they remained until hefty fines were resolved.
This wasn't the first time Riverside cops took matters into their own hands and raided a local car gathering. Similar chaos also ensued the year before. Riverside police justify the cause of their blitzkrieg affair by calling the meet nothing more than a street-racing venue that needed to be stopped-although no proof of street racing took place during that night. Revenue, however, was collected for each police department thanks to the numerous citations and impounds that took place.
What were my initial thoughts on what took place? Disgusted would mildly describe what ran through my head. The rappers known as N.W.A. best summed things up with their song "F*ck Tha Police." But before we go into a tirade of police accusations and bacon-slandering names, we have to understand that for every 10 innocent bystanders kicking it in the parking lot, there's always that one jerk off who thinks a mystifying burnout or 0-60 run through a crowded restaurant driveway will get the ladies' panties in a bunch. If you're one of those people, we hate to break the bad news but that doesn't work. It's because of these ass clowns that cops quickly profile the innocent group of hobbyists kicking it in the parking lot into a crew of mercenary street racers. Was the raid justified? We think not but regardless of what we think, the cops seem to associate anyone driving a lowered, nice-looking import or domestic vehicle as a gang member, street racer, or punk who's looking for trouble. If you ever happen to pull up to a cop, be sure to pop in that N.W.A. CD and play 'em their favorite tune.