New bill cracking down on street racing targets spectators as well as drivers

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ByCraig Wall via WLS logo
Friday, September 2, 2022
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State Rep. La Shawn Ford has filed legislation that would make drivers and spectators involved in street racing guilty of a felony mob action.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago police are gearing up for the potential that this holiday weekend could prompt another round of dangerous driving and street shutdowns.

Chicago police have put people on notice that if they engage in the dangerous activity of drifting, officers will be coming after their cars. But a new proposed law would make taking part in the gatherings a felony -- and not just for the drivers.

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The task force set up to combat drifting will be on the lookout this weekend for drivers trying to shut down intersections to take their souped-up vehicles for dangerous and dizzying spins that draw large crowds alerted to the spectacles on social media. Police are focused on impounding the vehicles involved, with $10,000 fines.

"If they don't have their cars, we don't have this problem," Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said. "So our efforts all culminate to do one thing. We're focused on taking the cars that are drag racing and drifting in Chicago such that they can't do it again."

RELATED: Street racing Chicago: City Council votes to crack down on vehicles used in drag racing, drifting

But now one state representative wants to amp up the penalties. He's filed legislation that would make people involved in drifting guilty of a felony mob action. The law targets spectators as well as the drivers.

"These stunters they will not be performing these stunts if there's no one there to see them," said State Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago. "And so they actually are part of the mob because they are coming together to create a show."

Ford said the tougher law is needed after a mob attacked police who tried to break up a street shutdown in Chinatown last weekend.

"It's gotta be our job to make sure that we give police the deterrence that they need in prosecutors, the laws on the books so that they can be tough on these criminals," Ford said.

The law would carry a possible prison term between three to five years. Superintendent Brown is already on board.

"There's one message to him: hurry up, we need all the tools that we can get," Brown said.

Ford said there is support in Springfield for his proposal. He is hoping it could be voted on during this fall's veto session, and potentially go into effect before the end of the year.