One officer was injured, and multiple spectators were set ablaze during an out-of-control street race takeover in Austin, Texas.
Multiple 911 calls were received Saturday night at around 9 p.m. about cars and a crowd causing mayhem by blocking an intersection, setting off fireworks, and street racing in the downtown area, according to the Austin Police Department.
Several police vehicles were damaged after the unruly crowd began throwing fireworks, bottles, rocks, and pointing lasers at responding officers.
“One officer sustained a non-life-threatening injury, was treated at a local hospital, and was released,” according to the department.
Police arrested two people for evading arrest and are still investigating the incident.
“APD is committed to stopping this conduct. Lawbreaking in this manner will result in enforcement and arrest. Our community’s safety is the #1 priority for APD,” the department wrote on Twitter.
In a video posted on social media of the lawless takeover, a pickup truck was seen driving through fire while doing donuts at an intersection.
As the truck drove over the flames on the ground, a small explosion led to fire spewing toward a crowd of people who were briefly engulfed by the flames.
Multiple people in the video were seen on fire as they stripped off their clothes and ran for safety, as others attempted to pat them down while still cheering and laughing.
Their conditions are unknown.
In another video posted on Twitter, a massive crowd began pushing back a police cruiser by slamming on the vehicle’s hood, disregarding the emergency vehicle’s blaring lights and sirens.
The chaos didn’t end until nearly two in the morning after the crowd began to disperse.
Local Council Member Alison Alter voiced her outrage over the incident, saying she was put on hold by 911 for 28 minutes after she attempted to call to report the takeover, she told Austin American-Statesman.
Lack of staffing for 911 operators has been an issue in Austin, with the average hold time for calls being two and a half minutes, according to an October report by Fox News.
The Austin Police Association took to social media, blaming lawmakers in Austin who “failed to make the right decisions & continue to defund, destroy, & demoralize public safety.”
Other Texas lawmakers who saw the chaos on social media began calling for a solution to stop these dangerous takeovers.
“God bless our brave men and women in blue! Especially those working in cities where they’re undervalued, underpaid and under attack, like in Austin,” State Rep. Jeff Leach wrote on Twitter.
“We should come together as a community to figure out how to keep this from happening again, how to keep our community safe, and how to enable our law enforcement to respond in a quick and effective manner,” Rep. Vikki Goodwin wrote on Twitter about the Takeover.
Takeovers usually involve hundreds of people and multiple cars gathering in an unauthorized area like an intersection or interstate and blocking traffic while performing dangerous and chaotic stunts and activities.
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