Residents ‘Furious’ over ‘Fast X’ filming

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Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — A popular Hollywood film franchise has drawn the ire of the residents of a neighborhood who are saying they don’t need any more street racing.

Angelino Heights residents held a protest Aug. 26 against the filming of the new “Fast & Furious” movie in their neighborhood, claiming the well-known film franchise has led to an increase in street racing in the area.

Filming of “Fast X,” the 10th installment of the franchise, was set to take place Aug. 26 and 27 in the area — and residents taking part in the protest said they fear the movie will further glorify and encourage illegal street racing in their neighborhood.

“It’s super, super, super dangerous,” one resident told the crowd gathered for the late-morning protest. “I mean, come on guys, it doesn’t take a smart person to figure out that if you lose control, you’re going to hit somebody or something.”

She held up a photo of a crashed vehicle and said, “Are we going to wait for this to happen to one of our neighbors, our children before somebody cries out for action to take place, or are we going to do it before it happens?”

Some residents marched through the area, shouting “Street racing kills” while holding up photos of people killed by street racing.

The Angelino Heights area between downtown and Echo Park has been featured in several of the “Fast” franchise installments, attracting fans to the area. Some engage in street takeovers and perform donuts or burnouts, as evidenced by the circular tire marks in some intersections.

Los Angeles has seen a 30% increase in fatalities and a 21% increase in serious injuries due to traffic violence over the last year, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Residents reached out to the road safety organizations Streets Are For Everyone and Street Racing Kills, who set up the protests — one in the morning and one in the late afternoon Aug. 26.

Damian Kevitt, executive director of Streets Are For Everyone, said that while residents are compensated for the short-term inconvenience of the filming, there are long-term impacts.

“How do you compensate for years of misery and being woken up night after night by screeching tires and burning rubber?” Kevitt told City News Service.

“And the effect it has on the physical and mental health of those residents? You can’t compensate for that.”

The two organizations are asking the city to re-engineer the roads of Angelino Heights by installing barriers such as speed humps and meridians that prevent drivers from racing.

They are also seeking a zero-tolerance policy on street racing from city and state officials, and for NBCUniversal to abide by its own social impact statement by, among other things, including a disclaimer in the movies discouraging street racing and working with legislators to pass laws deterring such illegal activity.

“I’m not saying we should get into a whole cancel culture on ‘Fast and Furious,’” Kevitt said. “But what I am saying is that there needs to be some corporate responsibility by NBCUniversal and there needs to be responsibility by the city for addressing the illegal aspect of it.”

Kevitt said he has received responses from representatives in both the LAPD and the mayor’s office regarding the complaints.

A representative for Councilman Gil Cedillo, who represents Angelino Heights, did not respond to a request for comment. Neither did a representative from NBCUniversal.

The Los Angeles Police Department conducted a two-day operation to crack down on illegal street takeovers Aug. 19 and 20 at various locations.

According to the department, the LAPD impounded 43 cars and issued 82 citations during the crackdown, during which multiple attempted street takeovers were thwarted. Police said 22 street takeovers were stopped in less than a week.

Among the arrests made during the crackdown, four people were taken into custody for alleged weapons violations, one was arrested on an attempted murder warrant and another was suspected of felony hit-and-run, police said.

Street takeovers have become a focus area for police in recent weeks, highlighted by repeated issues on the recently reopened Sixth Street Viaduct in downtown Los Angeles, which was closed by police on several nights due to illegal activity on the bridge. A recent takeover in the Harbor Gateway area led to a mob swarming and looting a 7-Eleven store.

In Compton, city officials installed Botts’ Dots speed-control devices in some key intersections, but takeovers have persisted.

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