Street racing arrests made as APD leaders seek to combat ‘resurgence’

New statute allows charging participants as well as racers
Atlanta police Chief Darin Schierbaum (left) speaks during a news conference about street racing Sunday afternoon.

Credit: Atlanta Police Department

Credit: Atlanta Police Department

Atlanta police Chief Darin Schierbaum (left) speaks during a news conference about street racing Sunday afternoon.

At least six people were arrested in connection with illegal street racing across Atlanta over the weekend, as police department leaders say it is again time for a crackdown.

During a news conference Sunday afternoon at police headquarters, Chief Darin Schierbaum discussed the arrests and stressed how street racing would again be a priority for the department. He noted that new statutes have allowed officers to not only charge organizers but participants as well.

Schierbaum felt the time was right to reach out to the public as summer approaches and the weather starts to heat up.

“If you are thinking about this city, where you are going to come and create crime and mayhem. You are going to meet the Atlanta Police Department, and you are going to go to jail,” the chief said. “So we wanted the message to be out today, so the citizens know this department takes this seriously. We are making arrests.”

06/09/2024-Press Conference: Chief D. Schierbaum & APD Commanders Topic: Street Racing Incidents in the City and multiple arrests

Posted by City of Atlanta Police Department on Sunday, June 9, 2024

According to police, there had been a resurgence in illegal street racing last week and overnight Saturday, when four such events were reported within the city. After working with state and county law enforcement, Schierbaum said officers had already arrested three accused organizers of those events: 24-year-old Treyon Hamilton-Coleman, 22-year-old Jaquez Smith and 20-year-old Tyrik Ponder.

“Those three individuals are responsible for bringing mayhem and unsafe criminal activity throughout Atlanta,” Schierbaum stated. “They currently sit in the Fulton County jail.”

Arrest warrants were also issued for the alleged organizer from Saturday, Montrez Nasir Carter, who fled to McDonough. Another suspect, Darius Edmunds, is wanted for illegal street racing over Memorial Day weekend. Schierbaum said he remained confident they would be arrested soon.

The street takeover scene exploded in popularity in 2020 as boredom, COVID-19-related shutdowns and the lack of vehicles on the roads made for a perfect storm. Participants strived for popularity on social media, or “clout chasing.” On Sunday, Schierbaum suggested many want to use the Atlanta skyline as a backdrop for their videos.

To help stop them, a street racing intelligence group — made up of hundreds of law enforcement officers from the different metro Atlanta law enforcement agencies — was created in 2020. They help to share information to track the events across counties. It’s a cat-and-mouse game, since organized takeovers can pop up anywhere.

Schierbaum stressed the department was not only going after organizers. Officers arrested three people overnight for “participating as a non-driver,” meaning they either filmed the event and posted it, or used their body or vehicle to block so the illegal activity could continue.

He said street racing investigations would be handled like any other critical investigation in the department, which was working through several evidentiary items and would be knocking on doors, police said.

“(But) for those that believe we are just going against people who just organize the events, (they) are wrong,” he added.